Tag: satire


Must Read Monday: Look Who’s Back

Posted 14 December, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Must Read Monday: Look Who’s BackLook Who's Back by Timur Vermes
Published by MacLehose Press on April 3rd 2014
Genres: Germany, Literary, Satire, Social Issues
Pages: 352
five-stars

Berlin, Summer 2011. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of open ground, alive and well. Things have changed – no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognises his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman.

People certainly recognise him, albeit as a flawless impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable happens, and the ranting Hitler goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own T.V. show, and people begin to listen. But the Führer has another programme with even greater ambition – to set the country he finds a shambles back to rights.

Guys, stick with me. I know you’ve just read the synopsis for Look Who’s Back and are thinking, ‘What in the ever-loving hell…’. Let us begin at… the beginning. I didn’t know this little gem of a book existed until The Morning News put out their longlist for the 2016 Tournament of Books. I read the synopsis there and became really intrigued and Oh. Em. Gee… you guys.

Look Who’s Back might be the best satire that I’ve seen since Catch-22… and I mean that since Catch-22 was published. After reading the first quarter of the book I started to describe it to a co-worker, he asked me if it was a treacly  book about Hitler learning how wrong he was about his views. I can assure you mein Reader, it is not. Vermes packs so much punch into a relatively short book. Since it was originally published in German, one can assume that Look Who’s Back was intended as a commentary on modern Germany, but let me assure you, the commentary fits just as well for modern America and probably modern western culture.

I found it especially astute and chilling in the wake of Donald Trump’s seemingly never-ending successes within the national polls… and some of the commentary he’s made. As chilling and on point as the satire is, the book is also hysterical in its execution (as all good satire should be). The use of the first person narrative (from Hitler’s point of view) is often a source of giggles, this device, oft used in many a tale about displaced time travelers, seems all the more potent because… well… it’s Hitler.

There is very little world building (how did Hitler just wake up in a field in 2011? Why not the rest of his retinue? Why doesn’t he remember his suicide?) and as much as a fan of world building that I am – I think it was a stroke of genius for Vermes to omit that and have Hitler himself gloss over it – for more important matters.

I don’t believe that any blogs that I read on the regular have reviewed this book. In fact it wasn’t even in Creative Whim’s Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin. Regardless. I found a much more eloquent review over at 1streading’s blog.

This should change now. I know it sounds a little off, maybe a little distasteful, but just trust me on this one.

Readers! Who has read this one? Has anyone read it in the original German? Do I sound insane? 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Choose Your Own Adventure

Posted 8 June, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in musings

three bearsOnce upon a time there was a little girl name Goldilocks, while wandering in the woods one day, her parents on the verge of being charged with criminal neglect, she comes across a cabin.

Although the door is not locked she opens up the door because she is quite hungry and tired. She crosses the threshold of the dwelling, maybe she has an intent to create a felony within, maybe she doesn’t – it’s hard to say. Regardless, she is uninvited into this home. There are pictures of the Brown Bear Family on the wall, Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear.

As she enters the cabin she sees three bowls of porridges sitting on the table. She sits down in the biggest chair and takes a bite of the porridge.

“Ouch!” she exclaims, “This is too hot! Maybe I can sue the homeowner for the pain and suffering that has come to me from tasting this too hot bowl of porridge. With that money I could stop wandering the woods breaking and entering into strange cottages.”

She sits down in the second chair, takes a bite of the porridge.

“Oh my!” She exclaims, “This is toooo cold. Must be Mama Bear’s porridge as mothers in this day and age are forbidden from eating warm food as they prepare it.”

She moves to the third chair, which is very tiny. She tastes the porridge and exclaims, “This is just right!” and gobbles up the porridge. As she’s finishing the porridge with the perfect temperature, the chair breaks beneath her KABLAM! Goldilocks lands hard on her rump and thinks of adding this to the civil suit she’s considering against the bear family for leaving a too-hot bowl of porridge sitting on the table that she has already encountered.

Rubbing her injured bum, Goldilocks makes her way upstairs where she finds a loft with three beds occupying it. Quaint. Goldilocks thinks as she climbs into the biggest bed. She tosses and turns for a minute before giving up, exasperated, “This bed is too hard!”

She climbs into the medium size bed, tosses and turns, wonders why these bears who can afford fine porridge and dining room furniture (except for that baby chair that was clearly not up to modern code standards) can’t afford a Tempur-Pedic bed. “This bed is too soft!” she sighs and moves into the smallest bed.

Exhausted, burned, and bruised – Goldilocks lays down in the little bed and falls fast asleep.

Meanwhile the Bear Family has returned home from their walk.

“Someone’s been eating my porridge!” Papa Bear growls.

“Someone’s been eating my porridge too!” Mama Bear exclaims.

“Someone’s been eating my porridge and they ate it all up!” wails Baby Bear.

“Look at the chairs!” Papa bear shouts, “Someone’s been sitting in my chair!”

“Someone has been sitting in my chair too!” replies Mama Bear.

“Someone has been sitting in my chair and they broke it to pieces!” cries Baby Bear.

The Bear family heads upstair apprehensively, Papa Bear grabs his shotgun.

Upstairs Papa Bear notices that someone has been sleeping in his bed, Mama Bear notices the same thing – and there in Baby Bear’s bed is Goldilocks, who has awoken and started to run down the stairs to escape the three frightened and angry bears. She stops in the kitchen, grabs a knife and starts to scream obscenities at the bear family.

This is his home and Papa Bear needs to protect his family so he discharges his shotgun at the ranting and raving Goldilocks.

 

Is your Goldilocks:

Black or brown?

A flaxen beauty with skin pale as the freshly driven snow?

 

You have chosen to shoot a black or brown Goldilocks: There is no national media coverage of this story. The police come out, take your statement and agree that this girl was breaking and entering and may have been involved in gang activity. The community agrees that the death of any young person is sad, but obviously she was a bad seed and got what was coming to her. Within a few months, life as you know it returns to normal except that Baby Bear continues to have nightmares from the home invasion.

 

You have chosen to shoot a Goldilocks with skin as pale as the freshly driven snow: Nancy Grace picks up this story immediately and your face is splashed across most national news outlets. You are the Brown Bear who shot a little white girl who only wanted a little porridge and a place to sleep. There are rumblings that the district attorney may send your case to the grand jury for indictment and even if they don’t you can hardly leave your cabin these days for fear of media, paparazzi, and the death threats you have been receiving. No one can understand why a big strong brown bear would need to take up arms against a little girl who clearly was just doing what kids do. Her parents are threatening civil action against you as well for wrongful death. Plan to spend the next 10 – 20 years in an orange jumpsuit. Also, take the plea deal that is offered to you.

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Wanted More Wednesday: The Jesus Cow

Posted 20 May, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Wanted More Wednesday: The Jesus CowThe Jesus Cow by Michael Perry
Published by HarperCollins on May 19th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Humorous, Literary, Satire
Pages: 304
Goodreads
two-stars

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Life is suddenly full of drama for low-key Harley Jackson: A woman in a big red pickup has stolen his bachelor's heart; a Hummer- driving developer hooked on self-improvement audiobooks is threatening to pave the last vestiges of his family farm; and inside his barn lies a calf bearing the image of Jesus Christ. Harley's best friend, Billy, a giant of a man who shares his trailer house with a herd of cats and tries to pass off country music lyrics as philosophy, urges him to sidestep the woman, fight the developer, and get rich off the calf. But Harley takes the opposite tack, hoping to avoid what his devout, dearly departed mother would have called "a scene."Then the secret gets out—right through the barn door—and Harley's "miracle" goes viral. Within hours, pilgrims, grifters, and the media have descended on his quiet patch of Swivel, Wisconsin, looking for a glimpse (and a per- centage) of the calf. Does Harley hide the famous, possibly holy, calf and risk a riot, or give the people what they want—and in the process raise enough money to keep his land and, just maybe, win the woman in the big red pickup?Harley goes all in, cutting a deal with a major Hollywood agent that transforms his little farm into an international spiritual theme park—think Lourdes, only with cheese curds and souvenir snow globes. Soon, Harley has lots of money . . . and more trouble than he ever dreamed.

Maybe my lesson is to stay away from satire on Christianity here. I DNFed Christopher Moore’s Lamb, and I almost DNFed The Jesus Cow. This book has its moments here and there, mostly some clever plays on words, that made me smile to myself but for the most part this book is just… not good.

Okay, why? While this is an excellent premise that could have been hysterical, or at least populated with memorable, lovable characters, Perry does neither for his readers. The characters – all of them – are flat and completely two dimensional, acting exactly as expected with little to no growth. Rather than characters, they are caricatures. I couldn’t come to care for any of them, especially not Harley with his dithering and worrying. Get ahold of yourself man.

The ending. Oh Jesus Cow, the ending. It was one of those unfortunate times where it seemed as if the author just ran out of steam and wanted to tie a nice little bow on things. Where the six main characters ended up made little to no sense based on the rest of the novel, but I suppose if you’re looking for a feel good ending then it might be acceptable.

Also, the marketing of this book? The catalyst for action happens on Christmas Eve, so why is it being released in May?

Okay, Reader. I hated this book. Give me something good to read? Would this premise have pulled you in? Does it pull you in still? I won’t judge.

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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