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2.9 out of 5 stars
2.9 out of 5 stars
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on April 10, 2004
If this had been the first Kinky book I had read there never would have been a second. I made it to chapter 24 before I realized that life is too short to waste on characters I despise and a book that had become a punishment to read. I enjoyed every other book by Kinky, so hopefully this was merely a speedbump.
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on March 10, 2004
Interesting how this celebrated writer mixes the hilarious, bizarre, inane, contemplative, and even the beautiful in one masterly contemporary novel. Two very odd people meet our frustrated 1st person writer- narrator, sending him on three rollicking, anarchic adventures in the Village. The trio battle a mental hospital, a big time real estate developer, and the world's #1 Coffee Chain. Along the way, some terrific dialogue, discussions of the art of the novel, the real vs the fantastic,and a general critique of modern urban society shine through. A fine page turner written by a terrific pen man, with more than enough laughs for all. My only complaint: a bit too harsh on the three corporate adversaries, and our three Robin-Hood style protaganists may be interesting. but they are definitely not all that nice! A very tragic ending, but the last paragraph is a winner. maybe even a beautiful finale.
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on January 17, 2004
I checked this out of the library in hopes of seeing Kinky expanding his literary horizons. Unfortuneately, I have to agree with the reviewer who called it "Kinky Lite." I really wanted to like it, since his mysteries are so addicting, but I closed the book disappointed. I like the pranks and I like the characters, but there was just somethign missing. Don't read this if you're new to Kinky Friedman. Start with Roadkill or A Case of Lone Star. Three stars for my Kinky bias.
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on December 9, 2003
I am a huge fan of Kinky Friedman's books, but was very disappointed with this one. It's the first book he's written that I actually didn't finish, it's just too introspective and frankly not Kinky's usual style. I expected to be entertained but was just bored. I hope Kinky's next book will be back to his normal craziness.
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on November 21, 2003
Novelist Walter Snow hasn't been able to write a word in seven years when he meets a beautiful woman with a strange request. Will he put a package for her into his safety deposit box. Walter isn't sure what he is getting into and doesn't particularly care. The woman, Clyde, is beautiful, Walter is bored, and when he sees Clyde, he begins to feel faint hints of his old urge to write. The arrival of the police two weeks later doesn't especially surprise Walter. What does please him, however, is that Clyde zooms back into his life, along with her larger than life friend Fox. The two sweep Walter into their world of scams, Quixotic gestures, and ultimately a battle for the soul of New York (against the souless Starbucks and Donald Trump).
Author Kinky Friedman uses the narative device of a story within a story--Walter tells his story, occasionally slipping in the (rather bad) text of the semi-autobiographical and semi-wish-fulfilment novel that Walter is presumably writing. Friedman's thoughts on writing are occasionally brutal, frequently true, and sometimes hysterical to the point where I considered listing this review in my writing reviews rather than in the mystery section. But it is the characters and the quest that drive this book and that ultimately make it worth reading.
Unlike Walter, Clyde and Fox are a little too good for this world and Friedman lets us know that their endings will not be happy. Yet their goals are partly noble. The way that the quest ultimately backfires hits with an emotional impact, yet could have been predicted from the start. After all, Fox and Clyde only take on lost causes.
If you're looking for knee-slapping humor, this may not be the right Friedman story for you. But if you're looking for Friedman's attempt to really say something about our world, then KILL TWO BIRDS & GET STONED is a great place to start.
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on July 2, 2003
Maybe I'm just not cut out to be a Kinky Friedman fan. Or maybe I just haven't found the right novel of his to introduce me to his work at its best. This farrago of composition shoptalk, writers block blues, by the numbers poo-pooing of the corporate world, reality inversions, and way, way too few good one-liners is little more than "Harold and Maude" set in the big city.
A couple of flim-flam artists resuscitate an author's dessicated humanity by the sheer force of their vitality. We know because he keeps telling us so every third paragraph. He tags along on several adventures, fretting over when it will all end, and then it does. Did I mention the dearth of good zingers? Friedman even reproduces a somewhat obscure Raymond Chandler line, unattributed. What would have been inspired is if Kinky Friedman the private detective had made a cameo appearance somewhere in this book. _That_ would have been a reality loop!
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on June 3, 2003
My advice to Kinky Friedman about trying to write a semi-serious novel...FORGET ABOUT IT!!
Fans of Kinky or readers wanting to get acquainted would be better advised to try "Spanking Watson" if they haven't already read it. It may have little redeeming social value but tons of laughs.
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on May 17, 2003
Kinky Friedman's mysteries are light on plot but their redemption lies in the one line laughs that dot his books.
Kill Two Birds and Get Stoned is also plot light but without any redeeming factors. It tries to be fun, hip and deep but comes off tedious. It is a book full of maudlin ruminations and redundant foreshadowing which are understandably necessary, because without the annoying repetitions the book, short at 221 pages, would be significantly shorter.
A book within a book, Friedman portrays his protagonist (a blocked writer who is seemingly Friedman's dark alter ego) as a tormented, pseudo-intellectual alcoholic who comes alive and unblocked when he meets two free spirits. Unfortunately, Friedman does not give us any reason to care about any of these undeveloped, superficial characters.
The plot is a string of dastardly deeds justified by Friedman's definition of mental hospital logic which he continually drums into the reader's head throughout the book. There are no twists or turns and nothing to keep interest. The author's thinking appears to be that many outlandish criminal incidents make a plot. They don't.
The only laugh in this book is Friedman's calculated attempt to show that he has compassion for the underdog and downtrodden.
Reading Kinky Friedman mysteries is like eating air. There's nothing substantial but you do get some laughs. This book just gave me a headache. It was so boring that I put it down several times, and then had to struggle to force myself again and again to pick it up to finish it. When I finally did I was sorry I wasted my time and money.
A well-established hack mystery writer, Friedman deserves kudos for trying something new, but he's better off sticking to the trite but entertaining formula he's perfected in his mystery books.
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on May 13, 2003
Friedman has joined the ranks of classicists such as Hardy, Irving, Lawrence and Salinger and performs a complete about-face in this painful, poignant tale that is as beautiful as it is surprising (for Kinkster fans expecting the usual fare, at any rate). I, too, gazed into space wondering what was going on after the first few chapters, but, I too, stuck with it, for Kinky never fails to entertain. I usually chuckle and guffaw my way through a Friedman story, but it was obvious from the beginning that this was a horse of a different color, a rite-of-passage story equal to any ever written. The characters of Clyde, Fox and Teddy are singularly vibrant, wonderful. They come from the heart of man. No, this book is not funny. No, the characters are definitely not the Village Irregulars. Yes, the book is worthy and valuable and possibly, will be judged his greatest work.
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on May 9, 2003
The last 2 novels from Kinky Friedman have been a bit of a disappointment for me. The characters, while all deliciously amusing and well portrayed, were wearing a little thin like a housepest who's over stayed their welcome. We just needed a break. This book certainly supplies it.
Walter Snow is a novelist who hasn't written anything in 10 years. One day while at a bank he meets this beautiful woman who asks to use his safe deposit box. For some reason not understood to him, Snow lets her use it. Soon after, the police visit and the story begins.
Snow encounters Clyde and Fox. Clyde is the beautiful woman from the bank. Fox is her closest friend. Snow wants to be Clyde's closest friend and ends up becoming Fox's friend as well. Clyde and Fox take Walter Snow on the ride of a lifetime playing pranks and evoking revenge on all those that in their minds are immoral or unethical in this world. During their encounters, Walter Snow is reminded of how to live and soon he begins to remind himself of how to write.
This last bit is the most interesting portion of the novel. Kinky Friedman supplies it with all of his trademark wit and charm. The pace is brisk and the humor is hysterical and outrageous. Occassionally a character mentions a line that, while you could hear the Kinky Friedman character of the past novels state it, you couldn't imagine these characters state it, but those are few.
What really makes this novel terrific, however, is following Walter Snow's thoughts as he ruminates on what it means to be a writer and what the art entails. He discusses writer's block and how it has affected him. He ponders how a writer puts together his words, his art and what he does to the friends and family that becomes part of the novel; how he characters on the page that he controls are almost more real than the ones he is writing about. That's where the novel takes on an almost postmodern feel to it.
Don't be worried by this last statement. This isn't the great modern novel (or the great Armenian novel, for that matter). It still has Kinky's humor, Kinky's pacing, and the story is right up your alley if you're a fan. But it's those moments when Walter Snow is sitting alone in front of his typewriter trying to draw the words from his pores that provide this novel with the depth and poignancy that the last couple of Friedman novels have been missing. A grand return to form! Thanks, Kinky.
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