Monday, October 21, 2013

Marty Slack Must Take a Very Long Walk

Reviewed by James L. Thane
Four out of five stars

Marty Slack is a failed writer-turned television executive. His job description is a bit elusive, but seems mainly to involve convincing other people that he's somehow essential to the process. He drives the requisite Mercedes; he lives in a gated community with an attractive wife who's a former actress, and he scores good tables at all the important restaurants. He's very solicitous of those people who can advance his career, not so much so of those who can't.

Despite his apparent success, Marty is nagged by self-doubt; his marriage is in trouble, and then one morning his problems really begin in earnest. He's just leaving the dilapidated warehouse in a run-down section of L.A. where his network is filming the pilot of a new show, "Go to Heller," when the BIG ONE hits southern California.

Following the quake, Marty comes to lying under the wreckage of his Mercedes and all around him the city lies in ruins. Buildings have toppled; freeways have buckled; fires are raging out of control, and the bodies are scattered everywhere. Like many L.A. residents, Marty has prepared for this day and he has stowed some water and other basic survival gear in his trunk. Otherwise, he's up that well-known tributary absent a paddle.

Overwhelmed with thoughts of his wife, Beth, Marty knows that his only choice is to begin the long and very dangerous walk from the shattered downtown to his home. As is inevitable in a book like this, his walk will be a journey of self-discovery and will allow Marty ample opportunity to examine his life, the choices he has made, and perhaps to become a better person in the end.

Walking along with him is enormously entertaining. Goldberg, who, in addition to writing novels, has himself had a long and very successful career in television, has created in Marty a complex character who turns out to be a very appealing companion for a journey of this magnitude. The other characters are also very well drawn and their collective story provides moments of great terror, humor and grace under fire. All in all, this is a book that should appeal to large numbers of readers.

A New Review From Me To You!

Green Eggs and HamGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An epic poem for the ages! Until recently only heard orally as passed down from the mouths of ancient sages (my mom and dad), I just picked up this tome and realized the eggs and the ham were green. SICK! No wonder the poor target of Sam-I-Am's incessant torment didn't want to eat the horrible looking stuff!

I admire an author who can seamlessly incorporate their opinion. However, I must say that is the one failure of Green Eggs and Ham. The negativity is driven home time and again until the reader cries out, "OKAY, I GET IT! YOU DON'T LIKE GREEN EGGS AND HAM!". Ah, but then comes the twist! The torture victim submits, tries the colorful culinary conglomeration and finds that he actually DOES like it, and thus is freed from torment! I tell you, Green Eggs and Ham rivals "the greatest story ever told".

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No One Told Me It Was Bear Season!

Winnie-the-PoohWinnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Reviewed by Jason Koivu

Pooh gets shot for godsake! I don't remember that in the version that was read to me as a child! What I recall were the sweet, pastoral tales of human-like animals living semi-silly existences in their quaint village-esque neighborhood in the woods. I liked Pooh, his muddled world view and convoluted logic, and Piglet's utter meekness had its charm, however Tigger was mah boy! He was my favorite character in the book and coincidentally my favorite ornament on my family's christmas tree. Reading Winnie-the-Pooh again as a grown-up I've even developed an appreciation for Owl and Kanga (I will never like Eeyore and anyone that does needs to get those issues cleared, stop typing a reply comment to this, just go right now to a specialist and we'll talk again in a few months). I also appreciated the subtle, adult humor that went right over my head as a youth. However, as much as I may have missed as a kid just from mere misunderstanding, I would not have missed the important message of friendship and kindness...and I definitely would not have missed or misunderstood Pooh getting shot! What the frick?!

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