Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!
James Thurber! James Thurber!
Ben Stiller! Ben Stiller!
Can you tell I was more than a little thrilled by this Audible short? James Thurber (1894-1961) was a wonderful commentator and cartoonist who was 50 years ahead of his time. For the last five years, every time I read a blog or a tweet that misses its mark, I've wondered, "What would Thurber say?"
"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (1939, 1942) tells the story of a henpecked man, on a quest to find new galoshes and dog biscuits, who daydreams an exciting life of saving lives and crucial war missions. He's every person - who hasn't thought of heroically saving a stranger from a falling shelf in an earthquake or tornado when you're stuck in a line at the grocery store, wondering whose tragedy People Magazine is exploiting this week?
Ben Stiller does the narration, and - I'm going out on a limb that even a real life timid Walter Mitty would venture onto - I think that's because a movie version of "Mitty" is coming out. Just a guess on my part, of course. Stiller did a fantastic job acting in "Night at the Museum" (2006), one of my favorite movie adaptations of a book (Milan Trenc, 1993). Stiller directs and stars in "Mitty" and I hope I enjoy the movie as much.
I'm only rating the audio at a 4, though, because while Stiller is a Great Narrator, the production wasn't. Too echo-y.
If you're wondering about the title of the review - it's another Thurber short story.
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The best part is unusual ideas. My brain liked it.
This is 63 vignettes. Some are just a few sentences. Others are several pages long. Some are like random thoughts of the author. Some have a little story to them. Many times I laughed. Some times I just said “huh” at the end. The last story was about a translator that was beyond me. I didn’t get it. I probably should have reread it, but I didn’t, so I remain ignorant about the humor in that one. Overall I loved this book. He thinks differently than I do, so I love his messing with my mind. My favorites were the following:
No One Goes to Heaven... ( I loved his view of what heaven was like. I never would have thought of that.)
Constructive Criticism (really good scene)
Kellogg’s (surprising and a good story)
Chris Hansen at the Justin Bieber Concert
The Something by John Grisham
The World’s Biggest Rip-Off
Discussion Questions (I was laughing during his asking the questions.)
B.J. Novak narrated most of the book. Other actors and actresses read parts. It was well done.
Genre: humorous essays