Customer Reviews for

Straight Man

Average Rating 4.5
( 52 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(28)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Exceeded recommendations

With all due respect to the Pulitzer people, I think this is better even than Empire Falls -- and I loved EF immensely. Straight Man is hysterical, warm, gripping and intelligent from the first page to the last. The constant wit and sarcastic edge make "Hank" Russo's be...
With all due respect to the Pulitzer people, I think this is better even than Empire Falls -- and I loved EF immensely. Straight Man is hysterical, warm, gripping and intelligent from the first page to the last. The constant wit and sarcastic edge make "Hank" Russo's best lead character ever. Anyone who has ever taught, or has aspirations to write a book, will not be able to put this book down until they are done with it. This book hasn't gotten the hype of others, but I would call it my best read of the year, by far.

posted by Anonymous on October 6, 2002

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Seriously impaired

I am apparently among the "seriously impaired" to which Publishers Weekly refers in their review. I found the characters in the book more pathetic than funny. I will give Russo credit for his ability to write, but this book was not worth the time it took to read. I n...
I am apparently among the "seriously impaired" to which Publishers Weekly refers in their review. I found the characters in the book more pathetic than funny. I will give Russo credit for his ability to write, but this book was not worth the time it took to read. I not only did not "laugh uproariously" but rarely chuckled throughout. The situations and characters were more slapstick than realistic. I persevered in reading out of affection for my daughter-in-law who recommended it, but I found myself wanting to put the book down very frequently and only picked it up again out of the vain hope that it would finally redeem itself. It did not.

posted by 9938567 on October 26, 2011

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Funny yet Serious - and Seriously Funny

    Russo's "Straight Man" is clearly written by a man who can write. The reading itself was a pleasure. The story was amusing, if at times slow, and was a wonderful combination of funny and serious. There was nothing silly, over the top, or shocking about the humor in Russo's work. The main character is endearing and honest and the supporting characters are equally entertaining - and for the most served only in appropriately sized portions; the most over-the-top characters make brief appearances, so it's nice to see them again later, rather than repetitive or irritating.

    A great read for anyone who has had zany professors (as many of them are), enjoys reading, and can handle a long read - the length is my only criticism, but I only felt that the book was too long for about 5 chapters in the middle. Once the story picked up again, I was glad to have more to read ahead.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2010

    Delightful Humor

    This book is hands down one the best reads of my post-high school career. It is my opinon that Richard Russo is a quick-witted, sarcastic, and dry author, wich makes makes for a great book that is exceptionally hilarious. After a while i found myself rooting for the antagonist in story becasue i couldn't help but to fall in love with ALL characters. Its seems that Russo used some personal expeirence in his writing wich helped me connect to the characters to better understand their point of view. In other words, this book was real, as in the personalities put into the characters & structure of this story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    Excellent, Hilarious Book

    Thoroughly enjoyed this and couldn't put it down. Very funny, well written, intriguing story and wonderfully formed characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2012

    “Straight Man” has a lot of humor and acumen all thr

    “Straight Man” has a lot of humor and acumen all throughout the entire novel. William Henry “Hank” Devereaux Jr., who is nearly 50 years old, is the head of the English Department at West Central Pennsylvania University. Hank is an anarchist who is not willing to take life seriously because of his past and is not willing to do anything to get what he craves. Hank shows how it is very difficult to just disregard your past if it has such a chockfull effect.
    It seems as though Hank is looking to be a better man than his other colleagues in his department. His approach for being a better man includes him threatening to ‘off a duck’ until he gets his budget that he feels he deserves. I see Hank as more of a blunder to his father’s sophisticated personality and accomplishments through his actions and thinking process, but this is not anywhere near his own fault. The aspect of Hank is a man who is both humorous and rebellious, but underneath this tough exterior is a neglected young boy who didn’t get what he deserved.
    Russo takes Hank and breaks his whole entire life down into pieces until the reader can get a full understanding of him, which leaves the reader with a more appease feeling with some anxiousness. He also displays many different personalities and beliefs (“Orshee” always makes sure that he includes women in statements that usually only include men.) which portrays Russo’s awareness of today’s society. I, myself, didn’t finish reading the book, but the portion that I read really showed me how the illusion of showing multiple types of personalities in a humorous manner like Russo does can be very enticing to bibliomaniacs like me.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    Best Russo yet

    Great humor and well written.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2012

    Good storytelling ... and yet ...

    ... what is the point of bookending the story with dog killings, the final one really gratuitous? None of the main characters feel the losses deeply, nor do any of them have any kind of compassionate reaction to the hanging of a beautiful bird in the middle of a college campus.

    And, yes, it would have been good to have fewer silly pee incidents and a lot more character revelations, notably for dear old Dad, Gracie, and Lily.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2008

    Classic character

    i have a good sense of humor, i like it all, raunchy stuff stupid stuff and this book has it all

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2004

    Pathos & Comedy

    This book had me laughing out loud...with its combination of characters and Hank's thoughts and fantasies. A book about relationships in our jobs and families well worth the read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2003

    A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A PROFESSOR

    Funny,great characters,observant and just fun to read.....if you ever been to college or a life in academia an interesting look into life at a university.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2014

    Good read

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  • Posted August 8, 2012

    A delightful read. Truly mirrors the foibles of academia. Funn

    A delightful read. Truly mirrors the foibles of academia. Funny and sad at the same time because, to me, this small university's disfunction while so amusing is so real. Very well written --- a real page-turner.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2003

    Ducks & Ducts

    One of the funniest books I've read! A college professor, bogged down in administrative trivia, trying to teach a class of students who aren't that interested! Don't have to be a college professor to enjoy this one; the laughs are long and frequent as you turn the pages. Russo nails his characters to perfection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2008

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    Posted July 11, 2009

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    Posted June 4, 2012

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    Posted January 6, 2010

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    Posted November 6, 2008

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