- 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: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #96,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure Hardcover – Jul 16 2013
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"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."
"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."
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 www.DeepThoughtsbyJackHandey.com.
Top customer reviews
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?"
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.
Despite my negativity towards elements of the book, I also had to stop myself from highlighting everything I laughed at for fear I would highlight literally half of it. Scrolling through my highlights, I laugh again and again, reminding me that the good is something I really enjoy. It's almost better to read it that way.
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