A book hasn't hit me this hard in the gut in a while. I expected funny. I expected to love it, but I really didn't expect to wind up crying by the firA book hasn't hit me this hard in the gut in a while. I expected funny. I expected to love it, but I really didn't expect to wind up crying by the first 15 pages. Little tiny things would get me. Single sentences had the power to change the tone of an entire page. Sentences that seems to slip through the subconscious, sneak into a cover letter, and turn it into a diary. The voyeur in me loved it. The obsessive nostalgia and regret mixed with hints into the present where nothing is going quite right. It felt like a diary or reading a pile of love letters...or perhaps break-up letters is more appropriate. Almost felt dirty for getting into the narrators brain so much and the idea of these letters, so open, obsessive and painful, being sent to HR drones at various soul-less companies completely warms my heart. Oh and I should note, it did make me laugh a lot still. Tears came from both ends of the spectrum. Can't wait to read his other books now.
What a letdown. I was so giddy to find this book in a bookstore, a crumpled, coffee stained original edition from the 70's, obviously well-worn and loWhat a letdown. I was so giddy to find this book in a bookstore, a crumpled, coffee stained original edition from the 70's, obviously well-worn and loved. Surely this must be a sign of awesomeness, and considering I have Martin's LET'S GET SMALL album memorized and PURE DRIVEL is my favorite short story collection of all time, I practically floated home from the bookstore. What I found unfortunately was a book with two good stories out of almost 30. Not only did they not make me laugh but they barely made me smile (with the exception of the gift of the magi parody, and of course, the legendary "how to fold soup"). It almost seemed like he was attempting to hit the reader over the head with morals without yet having mastered the grace of words on the page. Sure maybe some of these would have worked out as super funny bits on stage, but without his delivery it was PAINFUL to get through.
Also painful was the original book design. I haven't had a reading experience that hindered by design ever. The text was 14+ pt and the words were thrown into the gutter, forcing you to break the spine to even read them. Meanwhile there was an inch and a half of white space on the sides of the page. B&W photographs of Martin performing on stage MIGHT have been interesting if they weren't thrown in the middle of stories. These are three page stories, surely someone would realize it a picture had nothing to do with the text interrupting a paragraph with it wasn't a good idea and they could wait a single page to put it in. Right? *Sigh.* ...more