Friday, June 30, 2017

Book Review: Dave Barry Talks Back

Title: Dave Barry Talks Back

Author: Dave Barry

Date: 1991

Publisher: Crown

ISBN: 0-517-58868-4

Length: 285 pages

Illustrations: cartoons by Jeff MacNelly

Quote: “I am always getting letters from people who want my job...I frequently get letters from readers asking me to explain how humor works...[W]e continue to receive alarming news items clipped out by alert readers who have somehow obtained scissors...”

Not only does this web site not pay for itself; it also fails to generate enough meaningful interaction to keep me interested. Blogs and newsletters consume time that other writers cannot, and need not, fritter away on typing “Hello again, nice post, again” at the bottom of everything we read online. I expect most of the content I receive from other online writers to tell me something new, more than reflect back what I've already said, myself. But entire days go by when everything in my e-mailbox is some sort of mass mailing, often from someone so ignorant s/he asks me for money.

This is probably not the only reason why this web site is less entertaining than Dave Barry's is, even though, 45 weeks out of the year, Dave Barry posts recycled newspaper columns. But it's a factor. Dave Barry's column was blessed with a high level of interactivity. Each of the columns in this book was some sort of reply to a correspondent, or correspondents. These correspondents showed Dave Barry exactly what they considered funny, and what they found confusing. That is why, if we see a person reading a Barry column and not laughing, we know that either (a) the person is not actually reading it, or (b) the person is reading it for the sixteenth time today in an effort to analyze why it was so funny, or (c) it's the one DB wrote while his son was in the hospital, in which case the person is probably crying.

Interactive, reader-prompted topics about which this book makes people laugh include dogs, weasels, Richard Nixon, spontaneous combustion, explosions, toothpick-related injuries, animals falling out of airplanes, airplanes generally, Disney World, Florida generally, houses, boats, toads, London, junkfood, traffic tickets, the federal budget, guys, houses, blood donation, credit cards, English grammar, and spiders. Some of these topics are inherently laughable, while others become funny through the process of interaction between reader and writer.

Who should buy this Fair Trade Book here, thereby contributing $9 to this web site and $1 to Dave Barry's favorite charity? Anyone who doesn't already have a copy should buy Dave Barry Talks Back here. The problem, from my point of view, is that that doesn't leave very many people. I cannot imagine a baby-boomer who didn't read this book in the early 1990s. If you are a younger reader and have not already read it at a relative's house, however, you can buy it here for $5 per copy + $5 per package (three more paperbacks of this size would fit into the package for one $5 shipping charge) + $1 per online payment. When sending a U.S. postal money order to "Boxholder, P.O. Box 322" as shown at the bottom of the screen, you'd send $10 for this book only, and the post office would collect its surcharge from you. When sending Paypal payments to the address Salolianigodagewi will send you, you'd send a total of $11 because Paypal collects the surcharge from us.