June 25, 2009

I Read a Book: "Apathy and Other Smally Victories" by Paul Neilan

Look, ma! I read another book! This one has been sitting on my shelf for almost two years and I finally finished it. I picked up Paul Neilan's book Apathy and Other Small Victories in the airport bookstore after noticing the unusual cover art (judging a book by its cover is helpful sometimes!) and decided to give it a go. Unfortunately I only made it about half way through before losing interest and forgetting about it.

Now that I'm apparently all about reading again I decided to start over at the beginning. Let me tell you that this book is dark, twisted and a little perverse and I was totally into it. It centers around a late 20s nobody kinda guy who is going through life having fun at other people's expense without actually making any impact on anyone or anything. He finds himself befriending his dentist and the dentist's deaf assistant, in the meantime getting mixed up with his landlord (and landlord's wife), weird upstairs neighbor and a girlfriend who nearly kills him with overly aggressive sex. Lovely.

While the plot of the story is all right, it's the main character's hilarious asides that were my favorite part of the book. Check out this gem of an excerpt:

"I have always thought of people as punch lines. I laugh at everyone, all the time. I laugh when they fall down, no matter how old they are, even if they break their hip and they're my grandmother. Jesus my mom was fucking pissed. I laugh when they just miss their bus and then run after it waving their arms in a futile attempt to make the driver stop, and when he doesn't it means they'll be late for something very important... The Other Sister and I Am Sam are two of the funniest movies ever made...

I was kicked out of my reading circle in third grade for laughing at a girl who couldn't sound out her sentences. Years later she told me that I was singularly responsible for the stutter she'd later developed, and for her intense shyness and low self-esteem. The important thing was that I'd made a difference in her life. I have always found the misfortunes of other hilarious, because they're not me. If there's such as thing as karma I'm fucking doomed."

Dark and twisty indeed. If you are a little demented like me then you'll love this book. It's a fairly quick read at 231 pages, but make sure you get the paperback version, because the hardcover hurt the web of my hands (baby).

I'm going on vacation with my family to the beach for a week next week. Any recommendations for my next read?