Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why I Hate Straws - Barry Parham

Summary: Barry Parham unleashes this set of satire, humor, and indignations. His perorations poke at family, dating, politics, culture, good and bad decisions, and ferrets. (Summary from back of book - Image from amazon.com - Book received for review from the author )

My Review: I had a very hard time with this book – so much, in fact in the interest of full disclosure I must say that I didn’t finish it. I hate not finishing a book, so to be a fair reviewer I gave this 236-page book until page 121 to redeem itself. It didn’t. This is my review of what I read. Take it for what you will.

Parham’s humor is so offbeat as to be off-putting. Most of his articles read like coked-out, overly ambitious MadLibs. Sort of along these lines : "Billy Bob's father’s grandsons half-brother’s mom went to the (insert imaginary location) and from her peripheral vision saw (insert famous figure with hunting rifle) who was standing on his/her head while protesting the (insert vague political reference and mention a ferret).” I wish I were kidding. The majority of his columns are so full of absurdity and tangents, they are sure to be nearly incoherent to the average reader.

There were a few parts of this book that, while I remain unimpressed, I found more tolerable than others. His article on big box stores was accurate, I think we can all agree on his comments about health insurance companies (Evil, Inc.), and “A Day in the Life” was an island of insightful commercial commentary in a sea of random mutterings.

Other than these sporadic moments of lucidity and insight, I didn’t enjoy this book (or the half of it that I read, anyway). Oh sure, there was sarcasm and indignation in spades and I cracked a smile or two, but I wasn’t nearly as entertained as I expected to be. Most of the time I just stared the page, forcing the words into my brain, perplexed as to why anyone would find these types of scatterbrained observations print-worthy.

Sidenote: To be fair to Mr. Parham, who has received awards for some of these articles and was kind enough to send me an autographed copy of this book, I’m going to send my copy off to Dan and see what he makes of it. I am just one kind of reader and Dan is probably my polar opposite. I’m fairly certain he would describe his sense of humor as “offbeat” and might offer a better, more positive, perspective on this particular book. His review (should he choose to write one) will be posted here as well.

My Rating: 1 Star

Sum it up: Not what I expected - and not in a good way.

1 comment:

Daniel Nighting said...

I'll be glad to give it a review--we can see just how polar our opposition is...

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