The United States of Absurdity by Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds is a completely irreverent look at the skeletons in the closet of US history. What could be more naked than skeletons in the closet? Nevertheless, this is not porn. There is language that might offend the prudish. To counteract that, there are cultural references that will challenge those who look to find smutty meanings in almost any utterance. The prudish will be left in the dust. Those not left in the dust will get to feel superior to those who are left at “What does that mean?” The novel, with references to true events but in the reporting of fact truisms are disguised by a slathering of snark, will amuse.
This novel is a fast read of 136 pages that will take less than the two hours recommended by Kindle. The reader will be drawn by feelings of unbelief to go on to the next chapter.
Six primary divisions of the story will make serious historians scrambling to find primary sources while the rest of us say “I always suspected that,” or, for the know-it-alls among us to reaffirm what we always suspected, “Of course.” Published in 2017, this novel vigorously competes with the absurdities spewed forth daily by the current Emperor Without Clothes. The only danger posed by this novel is that it might lead the sheepish among us to accept that there is not much new compared to what happened in our past. The events of the past described in this novel, the acceptance of them by society at large, were harmful and incorrect. They are not examples to be emulated.
Great American Characters ***** The story of Michael Malloy is a cautionary tale to all alcoholics, both functional and the one a reader might be, to be wary of friends. As I read this, I thought of popular tales about the demise of Rasputin, a person who also drank with trusted friends. Set in the early 1930s, this story is believable because of the facts publicly available. This section also has a great story about Nixon. What do you find hard to accept about Nixon?
The Best Of American Sports ***** I detest all sports and believe that the reporting and glorification of them are obvious government (s) attempts to distract a population from serious matters; like wars, recessions, and imminent economic collapse. I almost skipped this section. But the story of 10-Cent Beer Night was worth the effort of my sticking around. Cheap beer and a lot of gratuitous nudity; what is not to like? There may have been policy changes related to public sports exhibitions as a result of this.
Great American Medical Breakthroughs ***** The authors give a warning about not eating while reading this section. Or not eating too soon before reading. Or not eating too soon after reading. Readers should pay attention to these warnings. They are not trigger warnings. They are common sense. Learning about Heimlich might surprise readers (really? We are talking about 2016 here). The section on The Stomach Men will put readers off their feed.
Very Bad American Ideas ***** This section might be a section unto itself, but the authors have selected some examples they think outstanding. The Flying Pinto will resonate with many Baby Boomers who voted for Nader for President. There is another car comparable to the Pinto made by another manufacturer as far as disposability and austere offerings, but nothing offered the fireball displays of the Pinto.
When Americans Go Wrong ***** Vampires exist. People believed that around 1900, and some believe it today. But this account of how people dealt with their non-presence is yet another example of stories you don’t want to read around the dinner table. Unless your menu includes some rather unusual organic ingredients.
American Tails ***** The story of the Kentucky Meat Shower will encourage readers to come in out of the rain. Imagine receiving a mysterious, gift of plentiful meat from the heavens. What would be your reaction?
The authors mention (I think promote is too strong) their Dollop podcast so for readers intrigued enough to want to do follow up activities, either for sourcing or for more interesting stories, the information is here.
Snark aside, and I have no problem with it, this novel is hilarious. I give it five Amazon stars for originality and fun.