This book injected my subcutaneous tissues with a viscous glowing alkaline buffer derived from a mixture of isoproterenol and rabies antibodies collected from bat carcasses. And peanut butter.
I am a lover of good books, good Chinese food, and good Scandinavian Heavy Metal music.
I am a die-hard Patton Oswalt fan. This was a much more intimate look into the mind of an adorable mad-genius than his stand-up routines. I wish there would have been more.
There are four major essays here, and they range from pretty good to classic Oswalt. The title essay describing teenagers as falling into one of three groups is just wonderful. The article about working in a subterranean mall cineplex goes on too long, but the lyrics read by Michael Stipe rock. The last two articles about being on the road in the 1990s feel like two parts of the same article, and are reasonably funny and insightful, but again, go on to long.
Sorry to say, despite the effort that went into an fully illustrated chapter and fake hobo songs, the rest of the book feels either like filler (I wasn't all that interested in his childhood snow fort) or a clever idea that doesn't really work, or both. The hobo songs are especially irksome. The music is actually nice, but the whole "I'm singing ridiculously rude things only to claim they mean something else" is very one note and juvenile.
Having said that, it all goes down really easy; I mean, it's only 3 1/2 hours of material.
If you do buy the book, make sure to download the PDF so you can see the illustrated chapter; the artwork is quite nice. I didn't realize a PDF existed until I heard about it in the book. You can find the PDF in your library just right of the jacket illustration where it says "PDF".
So, to summarize, I continue to be a gigantic Oswalt fan, and have just purchased his second book, which is a real dandy concept. I just wish this book had more first rate Oswalt in it.
Way too close
I already have recommended it to my friends who grew up in NOVA
First one - I will rent again.
Possibly, but the caveat is that I rarely listen to books twice. But on the other hand, if I could listen to it for the first time again, I would do that!!!
It's personal and (seems to be) heartfelt.
I could have, but I listen in the car and my trips are never that long.
Ok, finally I get to actually review this. I felt like he was sitting next to me in the car telling his stories--he was amazing at reading this. He also put a lot of effort into making the audio version of his book at least as good as the written version (I think it might have been better, given the music cuts and guest reader). I have liked Oswalt as a stand-up comedian and on TV and in movies, but wasn't sure if I cared enough for a memoir.Well, care about it. This is smart and amusing.
Comedians. American History. Nerds. Bring it!
i love this man's voice. i could listen to him for hours! oh wait. i did! yay!
i really love the Wines by the Glass characters.i laughed out loud while jogging when i first heard this chapter. by the way - it's very difficult to job AND laugh out loud. Darn you, Patton!
The Smile Hole!
Oswalt thinks himself cultured and literate. Unfortunately he sucks as a writer when he tries to overextend himself. This guy is just a medium talent comedian. Bleh. . .I have read some crappy comedy but I feel dirty after listening to Oswalt fill up time as he extensively goes over a crappy comedian's schtick (political jokes, topical humor, etc).
DONT BUY THIS! It sucks. . .get the first part if u can
If u must listen to it then wait for the public library to get it.
This guy sucks after 30 minutes. Fat pompous idiot.
This was by far the worst purchase I've made. It was not clever, funny or even entertaining.
Choose a different subject.
I expected to only like this audio book, not love it. I'm delighted to report that the latter was true, due to a surprisingly theatrical performance by the author, and a refreshingly thoughtful audio production.
I've always been a fan of Patton's stand-up comedy, and while his delivery and fresh approach to bit concepts always keeps me laughing, there are times when those qualities are solely what holds my attention, as the nearer to nerd-dom the subject matter gets, the harder I have to push my brain to stay focused. This isn't to say that D&D and sci-fi fantasy isn't a good comedic premise, I know it relates to a lot of people, but through some chemical imbalance in my brain as soon as I hear the words "wizard", "zombie", or "Star Wars" I switch into nap mode and find it hard to... I literally just yawned. The fact that the book title is made entirely of my personal bummer themes kept me from downloading the thing for a couple weeks, but eventually my appreciation for Patton's comedy won out, and I'm damn sure glad it did.
Don't get me wrong, this audio book is nerdy. If you love nerd things, especially early science fiction novels, retro alien flicks, and Fugazi (bonus drinking game potential here. take a shot every time the band is mentioned and there's a good chance you'll finish the audio book with your head in the toilet), you'll love it. Nothing that makes me love this audio book will make you dungeon masters dislike it. The real saving grace for me personally was the sheer quality of the delivery. I shouldn't be surprised, having (legally) downloaded all of Patton's albums, I'm familiar with his ability to turn the uninteresting (changing diapers, KFC, etc...) into the riveting, but what I expected to be a push through the sci-fi to the good stuff turned out to be the first time I've ever been intrigued by geek talk. Oswalt's reading performance was energetic at the peaks, measured and suspenseful when appropriate, and at times downright poetic. Halfway through the first chapter I forgot it was an audio book and realized I was listening to it more as a solo theater show, or monologue.
Coupled with a refreshing laissez faire approach to the reading (a couple minor speech hiccups or stammers were preserved, and chapter introductions were, if not improvised, convincingly scripted) was a keen production sense. Audio cues were sparse but appropriately timed, bonus audio content was a real treat. That being said, you could almost hear the producer in the background, leaving the booth to go for coffee as Patton ran his own show. The lack of over-direction is something I wish more audio books would aim for. Too often the forced find-and-replace transition from written text to audio book ("thank you for readi--I mean, listening to this boo--I mean, audio book.") is made even worse by an inflexibility of the producer, and the end product sometimes feels more like a computer text annotator than a performance by the author.
I could go on... so I will.
The real genius here is that Patton doesn't really have much to say. This is less a memoir than it is a collection of short story premises drawn from experience, on which Oswalt builds a rich and intriguing set, careful to fill in every detail, but with an efficiency that keeps each beat fresh. One story has little to do with the other, and it really doesn't matter. Oswalt could publish 6 more of these before he should ever feel the need to "look back" and tie it all together. Where do I pre-order?
Bonuses to look forward to:
-Disgustingly hilarious Hobo songs
-The best translation of visual humor to audio format (greeting cards read aloud)
-Michael freaking Stipe