on July 12, 2008
I read Peter Darbyshire's Please about two years ago, back-to-back with Barbara Gowdy's collection of short stories, We So Seldom Look on Love. I enjoyed both books and found them very similar. Although Please presents itself as a novel, it is actually a group of short stories about misfits linked by an unemployed twenty-something narrator's wanderings as he muses about life and laments his wife leaving him. Many characters in Please are similar to the narrator in their quest for a better life by taking the road less travelled in hope of an easy score. The characters in the short stories of Barbara Gowdy's We So Seldom Look on Love are also misfits but they are more focused on their goals and are stronger characters than the unfortunates of Peter Darbyshire's Please, so much so, that one story, Kissed, was made into a movie. I think Please would make an interesting movie. Our narrator would be a like Woody Allen from the wrong side of the tracks with too much time on his hands, fumbling his way through life as he becomes involved in the lives of the semi-employed, moving from one job to another. Both works deal with unorthodox love and the individuals who seek it. If you enjoyed either of these two books you should enjoy the other.
on November 13, 2003
This is one of the most refreshing, highly readable, laugh out loud novels I have read in a long time. The only fault I can find is it's too short. I found myself reading slowly in order to make it last. Each chapter in itself can stand alone as a short story and they brilliantly come together as a whole.
The main character is this down on his luck chronically unemployed twenty-something guy who pines over his wife who has divorced him. Through flashbacks to the past we learn about his wacky relationship with his ex-wife while in the present he spends time drinking in S&M bars frequented by models, peeping through apartment windows with a blind man, getting robbed by Mormons and going on car chases in pursuit of John Cusack but that's not even the half of it!
If you read this in a public place, you'll find yourself trying to suppress your laughter at some of the deadpan tongue-in-cheek humor. Dabryshire has a sharp wit and is an incredible talent. I can't wait to read more of him.
If you liked Palahniuk's Choke or Banbury's Like A Hole In The Head, then you'll love this.