M.J. Heiser's Reviews > Goats Eat Cans Volume 1

Goats Eat Cans Volume 1 by Steven Novak
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's review
Mar 26, 2012

it was amazing

It's important that every reader has a book that disconnects their analytical devices. You should have a favorite book in your library that makes you think, of course. You should have a favorite book in your library that moves you deeply, sure.

Goats Eat Cans is not either of those kinds of book. Goats Eat Cans should, however, be the favorite book in your library that makes you laugh.

What are you laughing at, specifically? You're laughing at the author, Steven Novak. Novak does not have the storied background of some authors; you will not find an Ivy League education or an intense brooding tendency to take himself too seriously. Instead, you'll find the kid who was often avoided when it came to childhood social interactions, the out-of-class education in how to be, if not truly sophisticated, then at least not so awkward that you drew true scorn. Yup, Novak got a hall pass for these classes. He also had stormy and often squirm-inducing confrontations with his parents, and he had to endure a divorce.

How is this funny?

The best thing about Novak is that he is not only aware of these presumed drawbacks, but he's maintained a vigorous sense of humor about them. He turns the retelling of events that most of us would find horrifying into celebrations of the ability of the human spirit to overcome adversity -- and also to learn the lessons from his past to make a really great present and future.

I won't lie; there are some really, really awful things in this book. If it wasn't for the humor, I would be forced to feel pity and even horror. But the humor is everything here, and it forces you to feel kinship for Novak.

After all, when you laugh at him, you're laughing at the awkward, unsophisticated, and oddly resilient kid in yourself. Regardless, it's important to remember that this is not a thinking book. This is a book full of poop jokes and attempts to catch glimpses of girls' boobs and the unexpected ways of love. This is a laughing book, and if you're not laughing, you're not my kind of person.
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