Thursday, February 21, 2013

Not Exactly What I Had in Mind

1985, 1986 Penguin edition
Roy Blount, Jr.
Not Exactly What I Had in Mind
Original price $6.95, purchase price $4.95
Worn paperback

The title feels apt for a not bad but definitely weaker follow-up to Fell Soup.  There just aren't as many laugh-out-loud spots, although I did chortle rudely at a few of the swipes against Reagan.  The copyright page this time goes back to 1977, but it's mostly an '80s book.  I found the first section, "Talking Wrenches," to be the best, but his rambling style does wear thin after awhile, especially when I don't care about some of what he's rambling about.  (The sports writing is duller, although I was mildly interested in his take on whether Carl Lewis is gay.)  It seems like there's less poetry, and what there is less memorable.

But his piece on Erma Bombeck reminded me of why I once loved Erma, and why I'm not so crazy about her now.  The Bill Murray profile also captures a lot of Murray's appeal, and flaws.  And for that matter, he's good on Mark Twain, bringing the perspective of a Northern-dwelling Southerner.  Blount is a good observer, most of the time.

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