Nancy McKibben's Reviews > Lunatics

Lunatics by Dave Barry
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bookshelves: humor, reviewed
Recommended for: those who like Dave Barry's work.

By Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel

You could think of this novel as a palate cleanser - something light and silly to consume between serious reads. Or you could think about how difficult it actually is to write humor. Or you could just enjoy it.

The theme of the book seems to be: “Top this!” That is also the plot. It is written in alternating voices: Philip Horkman, the virtuous and unintentionally funny pet store owner, and Jeffrey Peckerman, the obscenity-spewing, irritable asshole (a word I don’t use, but it appears frequently in this book) convinced that Horkman, the referee at his daughter’s soccer game, is trying to ruin his life.

Every incident in the novel provokes another incident, each one slightly more frenetic and ridiculous than the last. The original inciting incident occurs when Horkman calls Peckerman’s daughter offside in a soccer game. Within fifty pages, Horkman and Peckerman have become the objects of a low-speed chase, caused the crash of a police helicopter on the George Washington Bridge, and been forced to go on the lam as international terrorists with the national security forces in hot pursuit. (And this is not to mention the canaries, the lemur named Buddy, the two bears, the gang of teenage hooligans, and the middle-aged book club member whose insulin pump has been stolen by Buddy.)

An excerpt (the prologue) will give you the flavor of the book, but the book must be read in full to be believed:
Before we explain how it all happened, we’d like to take this opportunity, from the get-go, to apologize.

What do you mean “we”?

I thought we agreed that we would take responsibility for. . .

Whoa whoa whoa. I agreed that YOU should take responsibility. No way in hell am I apologizing for something I didn’t do. Because none of this, no, let me correct that, NONE of this, would ever have happened if you knew the goddam rules of the game of socc. . .

Okay, let’s not get into that again . . .

I’ll get into whatever I want to get into, you douchebag.

The point is, dear reader, that mistakes were made, and things got out of hand, and we, I should say, I’m, very sorry for any mental anguish, financial loss, destruction of property, or serious physical injury that may have been caused to anyone, including my loving wife and children, my friends, my community, innocent bystanders, the brave and dedicated men and women of the New York Police Department, the staff and patients of the Lenox Hill Hospital, the fine officers, crew and passengers aboard the SS Windsong, the Port-au-Prince Duffel Bag Company, Char, and the U.S. armed forces - in particular the Coast Guard. I also apologize to all three branches of the United States government, Arnie and Sue Kogen, and to both the General Assembly and Security Council of the United Nations for any role we may have played- and I assure you it was completely inadvertent - in exacerbating world tensions. And on a more personal note, let me say that, as a passionate lifelong lover and protector of animals, I deeply regret any of our actions that endangered any of the helpless, vulnerable creatures of the Central Park Zoo.

HELPLESS? Those things had teeth like fucking steak knives.

Finally, on the advice of legal counsel, I want to stress that nothing in the account that you are about to read is meant to suggest or imply that there is now, or has ever been, a connection between any international terrorist organization and the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant chain.

Chuck E. Cheese can bite me.
The reader will never guess where this book is going, and she’ll have a lot of fun getting there.

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Reading Progress

August 22, 2013 – Started Reading
August 22, 2013 – Shelved
August 22, 2013 – Shelved as: humor
August 22, 2013 – Shelved as: reviewed
August 22, 2013 – Finished Reading

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