Lori Anderson's Reviews > Straight Man

Straight Man by Richard Russo
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May 13, 12

Read from April 29 to May 01, 2012, read count: 1

This book could be down-right hilarious. William Henry Devereaux, Jr. (not to be mistaken for his father, William Henry Devereaux Sr., with whom he has a complicated relationship) is the chair for his college English department -- and it's not really a post he aspired to. His adventures with his fellow English professors is diverse, sometimes complex, sometimes as simple as realizing the other professor is just an idiot who got the job who knows how.

You'll have to read it, but the pivotal point of the book occurs when William, who has been trying to get a budget for his department, wanders upon the lake where a TV photo op is about to take place, and suddenly seizes a goose by the neck and threatens to kill a duck a day until he gets a budget.

What follows is not a massacre (thankfully) but a lot of high-jinx told with a dry sense of humor.

Why this didn't get five stars -- I got tired of hearing about his inability to pee. I think the entire story would have been just fine without the constant questioning of why he couldn't hit a urinal. Also, the epilogue could have been completely left out, as the loose ends weren't so important that they needed an epilogue.

Still, a good book.

Lori Anderson

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