Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Those not fortunate enough to live in cities where Barry's columns are syndicated have a special treat in this newest collection (following Dave Barry in Cyberspace). As his fans will expect, the pieces are delightful. Aided by readers worldwide who sent him copies of news articles about bizarre happenings, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist presents stories about dead sheep found in New Zealand treetops and the activities of decapitated cockroaches. He also takes on some of his pet hates, like opera (which, he maintains, killed an okapi in a Danish zoo) and lobsters (which, in his view, look like large insects and may become even more ominous because scientists are testing Prozac on them). A highlight is one of Barry's reader surveys on the most irritating TV commercials, the runaway winner being Mr. Whipple squeezing the Charmin. The least entertaining pieces are Barry's self-deprecating essays on his failures at such varied sports as synchronized swimming and snowboarding. But even these have their charming moments, and Barry has another success here. Photos. Author tour. (Oct.)
For readers of previous collections of Barry's syndicated columns, there are no surprises here. Enthusiasts will expectand will findthat the author writes with ease and whimsicality on almost every subject that chances to catch his fancy. And there seems to be nothing too insignificant or casual to attract his attention. If readers dip into the book at random, they may find first his ideastongue-in-cheek of coursefor eliminating the drug problem in the country. Next they may turn to Barry's reflections on the importance of having visible stomach muscles. Then they may find themselves reading about his views on the National Pretend Speed Limit. Barry is never uproariously funny, but he does set underway delicious trains of chuckles. At a time when so many people are in a chronic state of irritation, suspicion, and mental jaundice, the effect of the book is soothing. It cleans the palate, if not like champagne, then at least like a cool sorbet. Recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/97.]A.J. Anderson, GSLIS, Simmons Coll., Boston
Dave Barry should not be read in mixed company -- or, for that matter, in any company. Because reading Barry with another person in the room invariably elicits one of two responses: ''What's so funny?'' or ''For God's sake, shut up''....Perhaps it is easier to think of Barry not as a humorist, but as a channeler: he helps you get in touch with your inner 12-year-old. -- New York Times
Syndicated columnist and clowning Pulitzer-nik Barry (Dave Barry in Cyberspace, 1996, etc.) is back with another series of columns, regular as an equinox and admittedly starting to strain for a decent title ("A lot of the really good ones are taken. Thin Thighs in 30 Days, for example. Also The Bible").
As any certified funster must, Barry zeroes in on little events of daily life, such quotidian subjects as lawyers, doctors, aging, marriage, Thanksgiving, O.J. Simpson, and splashing around with US Synchronized Swimming National Team One. He may be getting a little weak in the memory department. "To be honest," he admits, "I had completely forgotten that in a former life I was Mozart," and he's concerned about the effects of his OMBS ("Older Male Brain Shrinkage"). There are, indeed, signs of maturity: "Booger" jokes are scarce; they're replaced by "poop" jokes. Exploding toilets are covered, too. Barry expends precious shrinking brain power in rearranging the letters of proper names: Winston Churchill can yield "Hurls Cow Chin Lint," he tells us. (He may be pleased to learn that his own name can be rearranged to "Verry Baad," which has kind of rap flavor.) Alert readers supply him with prime fodder from diverse new sources so that he gets to label riffs with his favorite tag line, "I am not making this up," and advance them with the rim shot, "No, seriously, folks." They aren't seamless and certainly not weighty, but Barry's concoctions still deliver. As he says about a completely different subject (bug brains, if you must know), his humor "is not as simple as we thought it was before we started to think about it."
Barry remains a formidable practitioner of journalistic silliness. "Ha!" some readers may say. Some, differing, may retort, "Ha ha!" Others may simply laugh.