This really isn't a bad read, really, but it is one of Twain's earliest works, and it shows -- especially when compared with some of his later, more m...moreThis really isn't a bad read, really, but it is one of Twain's earliest works, and it shows -- especially when compared with some of his later, more mature works. Twain's prose often gets much too prosaic to take altogether seriously -- he hadn't quite mastered restraint yet -- but as a glimpse into the America of mid-19th century, it's a fairly satisfying experience.(less)
Pretty good read -- certainly I liked it more than Man In A High Castle. The main problem I had with it was that Taverner was way the hell too quick i...morePretty good read -- certainly I liked it more than Man In A High Castle. The main problem I had with it was that Taverner was way the hell too quick in coming to the realization that he had disappeared from history. What the hell? Some hobo on the street doesn't recognize you from the TV and you decide you never existed? Kinda hard to swallow.
Still, despite a few unlikely scenarios -- I mean, outside of the whole "every sign of your existence evaporating" thing -- this moved along pretty smoothly.(less)
I really enjoy most of Buckley's books, but the last two that I read (Florence of Arabia & Supreme Courtship) didn't really do much for me. So whe...moreI really enjoy most of Buckley's books, but the last two that I read (Florence of Arabia & Supreme Courtship) didn't really do much for me. So when I learned of this book, which chronicles the terminal illnesses and deaths of his parents, I wasn't much interested. Oh dear, I thought, an overwrought and maudlin weepy melodrama about two people I couldn't care less about. Pass. But when I found a copy in the local library, I rolled my eyes and with low expectations, I picked it up.
So I was delighted to discover that, no, it's not an overwrought and maudlin weepy melodrama. It's actually warm, funny and tender. Even when he presents some jaw-dropping anecdotes about his sometimes savagely difficult upbringing, he never allows himself a great deal of self-pity. And wow, does he have room for self-pity. His father was a man who expected his son (and the world) to bend to his will. His mother was a world-class pathological liar who was completely indifferent to the misery she almost off-handedly left in her wake. And yet Buckley manages to avoid a total tabloid tell-all aspect to the book.
After reading Boomsday, I marveled at the consummate skill Christopher Buckley exhibited. How on earth did he get such an ability with his surgical wordplay?! In reading his snapshots of banter between his parents and the people who entered their orbits, I really got it. He learned at the knees of people who were masters of the English language. He paid dearly for that knowledge, but he has a great deal to show for it. One example is this book. (less)
Bah. I guess this was supposed to be a light-hearted "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" for the Boomer retirement set. Too bad it was about as effectiv...moreBah. I guess this was supposed to be a light-hearted "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" for the Boomer retirement set. Too bad it was about as effective as anything else that generation attempted that didn't involve personal pleasure and gain.
So the deal, basically, is that in the distant year of 2022(!), the ex-radical hippie residents of an assisted care facility are being repressed, man, by the Man, man. Well, okay, really we're only talking about the nurses, and the orderlies that aren't allowing the rickety old retired granola farmers to smoke banana peels and wiggle nekkid to bad cover versions of "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo" or "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree" and songs of similar quality. Those big Blue Meanies!
So what's a useless, pot smoking AARP member to do? Why, start a revolution, of course! Cast off those cruel shackles of the (figuratively) toothless Nurse Ratched stand-in! Gee golly gosh! A totally effective and selfless act of social progress and enlightenment! Just like Mom used to make!
Well, considering the cultural history of the "revolutionaries" in question, it comes as no surprise that all their slogans might as well be boiled down to "GIMME IT I WANT IT IT'S MINE". All that "social justice" crap is just window dressing -- the so-called revolutionaries are and have always been really just concerned with chasing their own pleasures.
Look, not a single one of these arrested-development Earth Shoe types gives a single fucking thought as to, say, improving working conditions for all those brown people barely scraping by on the piddling checks they get for wiping the saggy asses of old hippies who couldn't even tell you the name of any given nurse. There's no consideration towards, I dunno ... maybe peacefully sitting down with the Administrator and talking through their differences in a rap session? (That's "rap session" in the 60's sense. A discussion, in other words. Beat boxing is not involved, and anyway that's something those brown people do. Totally valid form of free expression, yes. And so... colorful. But we revolutionaries are involved in something a whole lot deeper and significant).
The administrator, along with those brown people who keep these old gummers from choking on their soup really only represent obstacles to be compacted and confined while the hippies get down to the Serious Business of spiking the Metamucil with LSD. It's just like the flower-children side of the 60's: GIMME IT I WANT IT IT'S MINE.
I love the hell out of "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest". I really do. But this? I had about 30 pages of the book left to go. The pigs were en route to stage the Final Confrontation. Well, I absent-mindedly left the book in a restaurant. I was six steps into the parking lot when I realized the book was still inside. I just kept walking. I figure that if the uprising of these geriatric stoners is anything like the ones in their heyday, then they're all doomed. Chemical lobotomies for the lot of 'em.