BOOK REVIEW: "One More Time" by B.J. Novak @ 15 July 2014 04:27 PM


Lots of critics are comparing B.J. Novak's writing to Steve Martin and David Sedaris and other contemporaries. I see a lot of James Thurber and especially Max Shulman. Maybe it's just me.

All I know is that this book is never-lagging, always entertainment funhouse led by a writer who's been staying very quiet and just paying attention to what's going on. And he's been doing this since he was a kid.

While there are adult moments, to be sure, in One More Thing, there's is also a lot of kid's eye-view stuff with the same inverted logic and gotchas you find in the other stories. Even the adult stuff has a child's fresh perspective on life and people. Don't let them beat it out of you, B.J. (Or may I call you "Beej," like Hawkeye on M*A*S*H?) There is outrage, but it's not bitter. The sharp digs are done with more of a headshake than a vitroilic spew.

Insight after insight, page after page. And when he seems to getting a little too close to an edge too far, he knows just how far to lean, making you wonder about what he's up to, then turns it around so you say, "OHHHH!" the way Edith Bunker used to when she finally "got" something.

Besides the cereal box story, which suggests Jean Shepard and Jerry Mathers, I LOVED the story about heaven. How did "Beej" know that's exactly the way heaven is? In addition to the free concerts, look for "I Love Lucy" live with the original cast. That's all I'm saying. Oh, and wait until you read "Wikipedia Brown!"

Worth reading and re-reading. I actually read the Dan Fogelberg story and "If I Had a Nickel" to my wife aloud. Most of the stories are best when shared. When's the last time you could say THAT about a book?



Now that I've read Novak's book, I'm in the middle of the autobiography of the writer he portrayed in "Saving Mr. Banks," Robert B. Sherman, in a book called "Moose." Very different books, but connected in a very unusual way.

The constable's responstable.

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