This is likely going to be a very short review, because I just don’t have much to say about the book. I knew about half way through reading The Night Circus that it was going to be a tough book for anything to live up to, so I decided that my next selection needed to be something very different. For that goal, Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Lazy, and Stupid accomplishes being on the other end of the spectrum from Erin Morgenstern’s work.
I like Denis Leary’s comedy. I’ve seen his specials and loved them and I’ve always laughed uproariously when he is a guest on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. So, this is a humor that I get and which has been proven to work for me. I did occasionally find myself laughing out loud at the book, but it was inconsistent, and rare.
I’m not sure if I would’ve done better listening to an audio version of this, or perhaps just reading it closer to its actual publication (it was published in 2008, a fact I didn’t realize until I was well in to the first chapter of the book). For whatever reason, the grand majority of the humor fell flat. In the case of many of the chapters it was a slog, not an enjoyment.
Now, there were things that were funny. Particularly the chapter about Oprah, and how Denis fell in love with her and her show while trying to research how there wasn’t room in Oprah’s media empire for men to love Oprah. Priceless. Also, anytime he quoted his mother. But, there were also many, many things which just didn’t land. Or worse, were offensive. (there was backlash against the portion of the book in which he discusses the rise in Autism diagnosis, and his opinion, that it is over diagnosed to children with parents looking for an ‘excuse’ for their underperforming children. I skipped this section completely when I came across it, and was unaware of its existence before reading).
So, what’s my overall feeling? Skip it. Go back and re-watch one of his specials or television performances. All this book did for me is remind me that I never did get around to watching Rescue Me and should probably add it to the list of shows to catch up on.
This book was read and reviewed as part of the charitable Cannonball Read.