GOING POSTAL by Stephan Jaramillo


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 The title is the only funny thing about this fictional memoir of a mailman's son, a 27-year-old slacker who's haunted by ``the Evil Seed of Postal Hate.'' His juvenile rants and violent fantasies add to the sense that he's really just slumming in Bukowski-land. For all his tough-guy posturing and anti-p.c. invective, Steve Reeves is really a whiny navel-gazer who believes he's entitled to a good life. After all, he's the first in his family to graduate from college (UC/San Diego), even though he also describes himself as a ``malcontent'' and ``misfit.'' Full of adolescent hatred for his family, Steve lives in Berkeley, where he finds himself, in short order, fired (from a bagel shop) and dumped by his girlfriend (for a hippie). He wastes away his days fantasizing about supermodels and recounting the stories of famous psycho-mailmen. He shares these unamusing tales of mass murder with his fellow misfits: Billy, a paranoid biker in his 50s; Brady, a homosexual- hating Texan; and Callahan, an affected rich kid--none of them providing the comic relief they're seemingly intended to. On a trip home for his sister's wedding (to a mailman), Steve's nasty father gives him a Colt .45, and Steve, a crack shot, focuses all his future obsessions on his weapon, compiling an ``Enemies of the Realm List'' of all those who've done him wrong. Episodic to a fault, the narrative bobs along on a series of silly antics, from bowling on PCP to barbecuing steak at a vegan picnic. None of Steve's fears concerning his father's allegedly violent legacy mask the real Oedipal drama at the heart of this frivolous story. The upbeat ending is as unearned as all the angst--a new girlfriend and some ready cash save the world from Steve's childish rage. Jokes about Charles Manson and designer coffee--this pointless debut appeals to the lowest common denominator of slacker chic, itself a rather passÇ phenomenon.

Pub Date: May 27th, 1997
ISBN: 0-425-15768-7
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Berkley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1997