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Posted July 10, 2012
Ah, New York. They say that if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. But what if you can’t make it there? Then a couple of snarky urbanites have written a book just for you.
Jane Potter and G.E. Feldman’s work is presented as a politically incorrect, highly intelligent, and uniquely useful publication from WingSpan Press. All of this translates to them insinuating that anyone who finds the book lacking in humor only has herself to blame. A warning is even included to keep overly sensitive people from having a fit of rage or suing over the text that follows. This is completely unnecessary, as is most of what is contained in the first three chapters.
But I digress.
If You Can’t Make It Here, Get Out: The TOUGH LOVE Guide to New York City Living is a parody of self-help books and any publications that overly romanticize The Big Apple. The book contends that most people just aren’t cut out for the fast pace, high rent, and mean streets because they are, to varying degrees, Irregular. The authors categorize human beings from Irregular (ordinary, easily annoyed people) to Perfect (the most successful and desirable citizens) and makes a strong case for why the former is better off almost anywhere else in America. They are also kind enough to include tips for the Irregular who cannot be dissuaded from packing his bags and pulling a reverse Green Acres. Despite their premature apologies, Potter and Feldman actually do a good job when giving clever, lighthearted advice on finding the right job, apartment, and even prescription for surviving the City.
The problem with this book is that the authors spend so much time chasing the funny and then backpedaling when they land on a decent joke that it was nearly impossible to enjoy reading it. We all know that New York is one place where it is extraordinarily difficult to love life if you are poor, overweight, or average in any way and it was kind of refreshing to see it in black, white, and taxicab yellow. However, I could have done without the painfully verbose disclaimers and explanations that seemed to accompany every witty remark. I sincerely hope that the next time Potter and Feldman join heads to write a book, they do not try as hard to be funny, limit the commas, and burn their thesaurus. The results will be just as intelligent and amusing, but far less frustrating.
Review courtesy of The Rogers Revue