Friday, November 6, 2015

LUNATICS - Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel [Book Recommendation]

Book obtained from: Library, audio book [2012]

Description: Philip Horkman is a pet shop owner, family man, and kids' soccer referee. Jeffrey Peckerman is a forensic plumber [LOL yes I checked, it really is a profession] with an attitude. They have a “slight” disagreement which results in them being pursued by the police, terrorists, revolutionaries, bears, and assorted other bad guys.

Plot: The book is a farce - an exaggerated and improbable comedy. I've read all of Dave Barry's non-fiction, but this is my first time reading his fiction. After an initial disagreement at a kids' soccer game, the MCs [love those names] end up pursued by the police, mistaken for terrorists, and they either encounter or cause an escalating set of situations which get more and more improbable. Occasional chapters are television news reports and newspaper articles. The final situation is supposed to be the most improbable, but oddly it appears the authors did have a prophetic vision because one of the final improbabilities is actually historically accurate here in 2015. I imagine the authors had a WTF moment when that situation actually occurred.

Characterization: The characters are well-developed. Horkman is a true straight man, loves his family, good father, etc. Peckerman is wild and crazy, also a family man but makes you wonder about his sanity. Definitely reminiscent of the Odd Couple. They don't live together, but they end up relying on each other to get themselves out of their various predicaments.

Setting: South Florida and several other states and countries. The descriptions were good, I was able to picture every scene without it being over-described.

Other: The book is narrated by the authors, alternating telling the story from their character's point of view. Dave Barry used a lot of F-bombs, which was definitely in character but sometimes I thought was a bit much. It ended just when I was getting tired of the slapstick, so it was the perfect length, possibly one chapter too long. The end wrapped up all the loose ends in a very humorous way.

Overall: Laugh-out-loud funny. Sometimes a bit too over-the-top improbable. I would read more by these authors.

Grade: B+

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