Sunday, 29 April 2012
Reveiw of Ellen Degeneres' Seriously I'm kidding and Lewis Black's Nothing Sacred
I figured I would review these books at the same time seeing as they were both written by comedians. I actually finished reading the books some time ago now and chose to read them when I did because I had just finished reading a series of good books with depressing storylines.
Both books are easy/quick reads and both have something of a disjointed nature to them. I'm sure that probably appeals to some and might appeal quite well to people who read a lot of newspapers or comics or magazines. There was a time when I read a number of newspapers and magazines and comics but I have really turned to fiction in the last 3 or 4 years. As such I prefer more flow, and a story line that I can follow without bouncing from topic to topic. Suffice it to say that while both books provided some laughs, neither was my favorite.
I found that Ellen's book really seemed as if it was written "just to sell books" and make a buck for her and her publisher. Maybe that's a bit unfair, but it's the sense I got. I couldn't stop thinking of the character Dori that she portrays in Finding Nemo because each chapter seemed to randomly hit on what ever topic was crossing her mind at the time. Great for a childrens movie, but not my favorite style for a book. I know she has written other books and I do not know if I would get the same opinion of those or not. I don't want to commit to it, but perhaps I'll give another of her books a chance. There is no doubt that some of her writing was funny and I laughed out loud at a few points, but it wasn't uproariously funny, and there were stretches that didn't quite meet my haha expectations. Ellen definitely trys to be upbeat and deliver a positive message which I think is great... I really liked that about her writing. One thing I didn't like so much was that sometimes (only at cetain points in certain chapters) she seemed to be addressing her readers as if only women were reading her book. Maybe there is a defnite demographic that is more likely to read her books, but as a rule I tend to be turned off a bit when I feel like an "outsider". In fairness... if a guy does the same thing, writing FOR men as readers I'm not sure if I notice it as much. Maybe that is something I'll try to be more concious of in the future when I read.
Lewis Black's book had a bit more flow and early on seemed something like his stand-up performances where he makes sarcastic but insightful jabs at polotics and the government. I have had the good fortune to see Lewis Black perform live and it was a treat. Therefore, I think I enjoyed the early part of the book best. As it progressed it evolved into the story of how he came to be a comic and his young adult life as he developed his witty cynicism. It was interesting at first, but for some reason I've always more enjoyed biographical writing then autobiographical writing. So as the story progressed I grew a bit tired. >.< I think he has something of a self-effacing nature too, which can be funny, but also a bit depressing to read.
So ultimately if I had to grade each book they'd get C/C+ range for me. The both had some good laughs, but neither were able to keep the comedic momentum that both are capable of on television. I admire that they both took the time to write a book(s)... I just sometimes wonder whether or not these are endeavors the writers are truly invested in.
- Jon Bear