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The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure Hardcover – Jul 16 2013

3.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (July 16 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455522384
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455522385
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #132,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"I recently humiliated myself in the prestigious Pump Room restaurant by laughing out loud, to the point of tears, while reading The Stench of Honolulu. Jack Handey is the funniest writer in America. And his funny is a very particular, sublime, kind of funny-it builds and builds and is related to his supreme control of language. It is witty, minimal, subversive and also strangely sweet. Read this book, and you will feel better, period."
--George Saunders, New York Times bestselling author of Tenth of December, to the New York Post.

"A clever, absurd and fantastical adventure that could only have sprung from the hilarious-slash-lunatic mind of Jack Handey."
--Jimmy Fallon

"This book is a joy. I laughed out loud on every page. Jack Handey is hilarious, brilliant, and original--a law unto himself."
--Ian Frazier, author of Travels in Siberia

"I don't remember Honolulu being remotely this disgusting."
--Judd Apatow

About the Author

Jack Handey's bestselling books include the Deep Thoughts series, What I'd Say to the Martians and Other Veiled Threats, and Fuzzy Memories. Jack's writing for Saturday Night Live is known worldwide. He has won two Emmy Awards and a Writers Guild of America Award, and his humor has been published in The New Yorker, Playboy, and National Lampoon. Jack's quotations recently appeared in his own line of American Greetings cards. For more information, you can visit

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Stench of Honolulu was a book I was excited to read. Deep Thoughts were always a highlight of SNL, and Handey's style of mixing dry comedy and non-sequiturs is right up my alley. Despite the potential for a lot to love and many of the jokes delivering, the structure and tone of the story undermine the comedy and leave me wishing for something different.

The novel is a series of really short chapters. Chapters are one or two-pages, and almost every paragraph is a setup and a punch line that propels the story along. In one sense, it's amazing the density of the jokes. But while the brevity makes the content easy to consume, it's difficult to digest and fully appreciate. I generally liked the witticisms, but the short chapters made it easy to put the book down and the story wasn't compelling enough to push me forward.

Beyond the lack of a compelling narrative, which could be forgiven in a novel such as this, the narrator and overall story were both misleading, detracting from my enjoyment. They transition from goofy to malevolent and fantastical to realistic respectively in ways that feel disjointed and less like progression than misdirection.

Interestingly, my appreciation for the jokes varied by my mood. If I started the reading session with a smile, I enjoyed it much more than if I were reading after a stressful day of work. Every once in a while a joke had the power to change my demeanour, but that was rare. I recognized the pattern and tried to adjust accordingly, but I also longed for something with enough power to lighten my mood, with mixed results. The narrator's eventual maliciousness and the story's willingness wantonly kill people with ineffective slapstick comedy didn't help.
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Format: Hardcover
As a long time fan of the Deep Thoughts series and Jack Handey's writing, I was thrilled to hear that he had written another book and immediately purchased it. It would be excessively generous to actually call this a novel, which I think Handey is fully aware of. He seems to poke fun at his own lack of plot by using overly simplistic and downright absurd storylines.

That said, there are brilliant, well-crafted jokes in every chapter. Some paragraphs contained such an intricate and convoluted web of bizarre jokes that I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard. Not content to enjoy the jokes alone, I even took to the phone to read my favorite passages out loud. (The nickname bit on the airplane just killed me!)

I feel that my fellow reviewers, although perhaps justified in wanting more substance and plot, must consider the source. Jack Handey has essentially taken hundreds of "deep thoughts" and woven them into a light story. I breezed through this book in two sittings and had a lot of fun doing so. You would be hard pressed to find ANY humour writer who can produce the sheer quantity of jokes that Handey manages to pack into this book.

The first line alone is hilarious: "When my friend Don suggested we go on a trip to the South Seas together, and offered to pay for the whole thing, I thought, Fine, but what’s in it for me?"
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was such a disappointment. When I'd heard that Mr. Handy had written a new book, I jumped on the chance to get my hands on it. I even laid out the $$ for a hardcover (which I never do). I found myself incredibly disappointed. The writing just screamed that the author was desperately trying to make every sentence hilarious; and while there were a few ha-ha moments, the book, as a whole, was singlularly un-funny. Mr. Handy seems to have gotten so ingrained in the writing style of his Deep Thoughts one liners, that he wasn't able to break away from it in writing a story. It struck me as a long series of one-liners, with one chapter reading just like a series of Deep Thoughts. It was a cheap shot and a total waste of time. I was actually miffed that I'd paid good money for it.
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Format: Hardcover
If you have a good sense of humour, and you like other Jack Handey stuff like his "deep thoughts", you'll love this. It's basically his deep thoughts character set in a story. I would go for the audio version if you don't already have a good sense of his delivery - it can make or break the jokes in some cases.
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