6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Lightning Rods (Hardcover)
I would think twice before recommending Lightning Rods, by Helen DeWitt, to the middle-aged ladies in my Sunday School class. To others, willing to expose themselves to some cringe-worthy satire about sex in the workplace, I can assure a fun, engaging, thought-provoking read. As for my own quirky self, I enjoyed the book a lot. It kept me surprised and intrigued in the bizarre story line, the fresh voice, and the truths that disturbingly surfaced throughout.
Joe fails in his chosen career as a salesman in part because of the amount of time he devotes to perfecting his inane sexual fantasies. Fortunately for him, this proclivity provides the light bulb moment that leads him to found what becomes a multi-million dollar business. He reasons that other men, too, must spend a good part of the work day fantasizing - time that should be spent closing deals. Furthermore, he reasons that their pent up desires could lead to inappropriate advances toward female colleagues, who might claim harassment. Joe brainstorms that hiring women to provide anonymous sexual services during the work day would increase productivity among all those horny men and help protect the company from possible lawsuits. Those women he calls Lightning Rods.
Joe's ideas are presented by the book's narrator as well-reasoned and forward-thinking. De Witt wholeheartedly commits to her character's point of view. Her writing is at the same time raunchy and clinical; her narrator is an innocent and a cad. At times I was surprised this book was written by a woman; other times I was surprised she had the courage to publish under her real name. (Perhaps I have more in common with my middle-aged Sunday School friends than I thought.) DeWitt's book could have easily tended toward a broad, sloppy, low-brow humor. She succeeded, however, in giving us a sharp, sophisticated, and wickedly hilarious tale.