Wise Sherrif Harris saves two Pennsylvania boys, one of whom done it, from a murder rap by murdering a key witness. He's also bopping one of the boy's mom. The two boys are friends, and one of them is bopping the other's sister before he goes into the clink as the prime suspect while the one who actually done it goes on the lam. Pennsylvania keeps getting rustier. Jaklak gives it five beers on a scale of six. .
Two or three pieces into this collection, I thought - this is a guy who writes about his wiener. Turns out I was more right than I knew - apparently, Mr. Ames main though not exclusive ouevre in this and other books is his wiener and other humiliating, enslaving parts of anatomy.
The theme weaving through these essays is doubt at middle age by a writer on the margins, living at times with his parents. Mid-life crisis, as it is more colloquially known. The stories are tidy, engaging, if a little self-obsessive.
Wileycoyote gives it four beeps and sez check it out if you're a middle-aged guy mostly. I suspect the ladies will have sharply diverging views on this, but what do I know, I'm a guy.
This is a novel about trying and failing. I'm not referring to the characters here - I'm referring to the author. Bogosian principally tries hard to imagine the life of a rags to riches to ruin farm girl turned model (discovered homeless! bright lights! big city! drugs! beaches! drugs! meaningless sex! drugs!) and the mid-life crisis of a married doctor with two kids much given to annoying inner dialog (I'm good! I'm bad! I'm a jerk! She loves me! Sho loves me not!) she has an affair with.
Not for me, anyway. Jaklak sez check it out if you're into this kind of thing. Otherwise, keep walking.
This is a fascinating and somwtimes frustrating read. You know the story, surely - Norah Vincent goes underground as a man named Ned, with some great makeup, expert coaching, and oversized glasses.
There's a lot of complex interaction in this book, well told. There's the one between woman as man with men; woman as woman with men; woman as man with women; Naroh as man and Ned as woman;woman as lesbian with both men and women. And there's the interaction between any male reader and Norah as woman as man.
Anyone who reads this book will have a lot to chew on about gender relations. Much of what Norah observes about men is spot on. The great service of this book is that Norah can say what men can't - male insecurity, the humiliation of the dating chase, the conflicting demands women make on men, the stifling cultural cues, and much more.
The book starts with Ned joining a bowling team. Norah keenly observes male bonding rituals that women simply don't pick up on. Much is good about men in this section. By the end of the book, however, the early part seems long forgotten and men are made to seem to be a bundle of irronciliable pathologies to be rescued from. Hey - we got our own row to hoe just like the ladies do.
That's a little frustrating, but still - read this book, gents and ladies. It's a doozy.
Mann's point in this book is to bring to a wide readership the recent scholarship on the America's prior to Columbus. This is he does, and does well, and the reader is excellent. Still, this may be a book better read than listened to. Necessarily, the author ranges over a wide space both geographically and historically. The strangeness of names of places and people often made it difficult for this lay reader to follow complex passages.
But I heard enough to know this is a worthy and serious book. What's impressive in the end is how much we still don't know, how impressive is the knowledge gained for this place and time over the last 50 years, and how much is argued over between scholars, Native Americans, and enthusiasts when consensus doesn't exist. An excellent account of a time long past that remains so much a mystery despite the excellent work of many in different fields of expertise.
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