E is for Eyeball: An Alphabet Book for Grown-Ups! by Marc Richard is what I call a “dessert” book. We know that dessert is something that many wait for. It is pleasant, the taste makes us smile, it signals the end of a function where a boring speaker may have gone too long. Smiles all around unless we are counting calories but even then, it signals goodbye to boredom, so dessert is pretty much win-win. For me, humor is dessert. I can’t eat only dessert. As much as I like Marc Richard and his brand of humor, I can’t read two of his books in a row. It would be too much dessert.
Marc Richard occupies a humor line that goes from funny to hilarious to outright laughing while you read. He is a working comedian artist. Check out his Amazon page to see how prolific he is. I believe it is difficult to produce humor at the rate he publishes. I can easily see criticisms from people who do not like puns. I like puns. Richard also uses a lot of cultural references to poke fun at people and events; some may find this politically incorrect, offensive, or feel they have suffered a barrage of micro-aggressions. The previous sentence is my warning to sensitive readers. Note that I did not say, overly-sensitive readers. I am being polite.
As a thick-skinned reader, I enjoyed this latest contribution to the “Alphabet Books.” It has literary merit as it lampoons Edgar Allen Poe. Highbrows can have fun remembering their earlier readings of Poe while going through the Poe works Richard has decided to examine. Those of us reveling in the lowest form of humor, puns, might even want to look up the Poe tale described in chapter seven (“A Disappointment”).
Readers will find that Richard occasionally takes a break to talk directly to the reader. This can be unsettling, especially when Richard chides us.
“Which is why it surprised me to find a faint crack, almost imperceptible, but which a contractor such as Usher should most certainly have noticed, running from the turret, zigzagging its way down the outside wall, across the lawn and into the lake. Impossible, you say? Surely not. Unbelievable, you say? Perhaps. If it was imperceptible, how did I see it in the dark, you ask? As punishment for asking so many questions, I am going to stop answering them. How do you like that? Not so smart now, are you? Oh, you don’t really care, and was just asking questions to be polite?” (loc 783-786)
I like to review novels that I can refer to my students of English as a Second Language. This is not a book for them because of a lot of cultural references such as:
“The leaves had turned an ugly indescribable shade of some color or other, most of them lying on the ground. The few that remained clung to their branches like little Baby Blanket clinging to his daddy as he dangled him over a balcony.” (loc 743-745).
And a final example of humor and English language, one that might offend many (not me, I teach English!):
“I was already fluent in that (English) language, that being my native tongue, but that was my first language. I had never felt the need to learn English as a second language as well, but I have to tell you, once you do, entire worlds of opportunity open up. For instance, you can finally understand customer service agents over the phone. (loc 1422-1424)
This is a book of humor, I could not detect any malicious attacks on ethnic groups, religions, or old people (this last is important to me). The sexual humor, yes there is some, is far-ranging but brief and might leave some mental images we won’t want to revisit. However, this is in no way pornographic, there are not extended tracts devoted to weird stuff. Unless you count the Prince, who has a family tree with no branches but to see that explanation you will have to read the book. It is free on Kindle Unlimited. Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans
This is a fun book that I believe deserves five Amazon stars in its genre.