by Al Franken
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- For this reviewer, the funniest things about middlebrow comic Al Franken are his face and his lisping, nerdy voice. I liked the title of his first book, RUSH LIMBAUGH IS A BIG FAT IDIOT AND OTHER OBSERVATIONS, far more than its contents. Here, the inside lives up to the outside. It's partly self-parody and partly a send-up of personal advice books by self-appointed gurus. Over this salad, he sprinkles sarcasm at the expense of politicians and others on the public radar. All in all, very tasty. Y.R. (c) AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine
April 29, 2002
Writing with the self-satirizing smirk that became his specialty on Saturday Night Live, Franken now takes on the advice-book genre. Written as a series of self-aggrandizing bromides, his book—with its title's nod to Dr. Seuss's perennial bestseller—hopscotches from one barely considered subject to another, dispensing hilariously useless advice on things like personal health, real estate and passively aggressively insulting your spouse by letting your appearance go to seed. Recent high school—and maybe even some college—graduates (his target audience) will alternately laugh and roll their eyes at comments like "You're never too old to learn. Unless you have Alzheimer's, in which case you're never too old to unlearn" and "Religion is like a fire extinguisher. You never know when you're going to need it. So it's best to have one handy." There's little here that qualifies as great comedy—the chuckles it provokes will probably be forgotten in an hour or so, which, incidentally, is about how long it takes to read the book—but it's refreshing to see Franken turning his sights to something besides the too-obvious political satire he's been promoting of late. (May)Forecast:Franken's book doesn't have the pomp and circumstance of Thomas's (see review, p. 52), but it should still be popular. The cover illustration—of Franken dressed in a cap and gown holding four diplomas—will surely spur sales come graduation time.
October 15, 2002
Fans of Franken's brilliant political satire (Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot) will be disappointed with his latest book. Oh, the Things I Know, while humorous in places, does not live up to the biting acerbity of Franken's political wit. It also pales in comparison with his earlier "self-help" persona, Stuart Smalley of Saturday Night Live fame. In this audio the author offers guidance, of a sort, through many of life's travails. Throughout, Franken appears to put aside what he is best at, humor, and tries to turn out a chapter or two of what Oprah is best at, concern and helpful advice for daily living. Those of us who have laughed out loud while reading his earlier books will be dissatisfied with this slim attempt at humor. Most libraries would be better served with any of Franken's other works.-Theresa Connors, Arkansas Tech Univ., Russellville
Copyright 2002 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
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