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Customer Review

187 of 192 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious satire covered in rich nostalgia., October 10, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash (Paperback)
As I suspect has been the case with other younger adults of my generation, I first became familiar with the works of humorist Jean Shepherd after watching the delightful 1983 motion picture "A Christmas Story" (reviewed elsewhere in this catalog). It would take some time before I finally decided to read "In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash", which the movie was partly based on. Those of us who enjoyed Shepherd's side-splitting narration in "A Christmas Story" will not be disappointed by the book, although the movie is more upbeat and lacking the book's satire. The premise of "In God We Trust" is simple: New York-based writer Ralph Parker is back in his mythical hometown of Hohman, Indiana to write an article on this blue-collar Midwestern town for a magazine. Between drinks at his old friend Flick's tavern, Ralph reminisces on his childhood experiences in Hohman during the Depression and the colorful characters who were so much a part of the town. Throughout the book, Shepherd uses masterful similes and metaphors in describing the most basic aspects of life during Ralph's younger years. The book is funny indeed, and there is enough satire in the nostalgic references to disqualify Hohman from becoming a Norman Rockwell painting. There is also a feeling of pathos in Shepherd's brand of satire, as Ralph describes the drab experience of living in a town surrounded by pollution-spewing steel mills and oil refineries, a town where there is not much of a future unless you own a bar or used-car lot or work in one of the nearby industries. The denizens of Hohman do find moments of respite from the drabness during Christmas, the Fourth of July, the Thanksgiving Day parade, or a trip to the movies, often with hilarious consequences. After reading the highly enjoyable "In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash", I can understand how Jean Shepherd earned his reputation as a master satirist and raconteur.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 14, 2011 3:58:33 PM PST
For reference, Hohman, Indiana is representative of Hammond, Indiana. (Jean Shepperds boyhood home and whose main street is Hohman Avenue)
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