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Elevating Overman: a novel Paperback – May 11, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Bruce Ferber is an Emmy-nominated writer, and his talent shines in his first novel. Elevating Overman is a brilliantly written novel with a cast of full-bodied characters that are so ridiculous, they come across as truly authentic.
                                                         -- San Francisco Book Review


...Frailty abounds in this searing examination of our lesser selves. With hints of Philip Roth, the cultural byplay will bring out the self-hatred in us all - and turn it on its head. Elevating Overman deserves a place in the Jewish-American canon.
                                        --Roy Teicher, former Tonight Show writer, LA Times columnist.


Ira Overman knew his world was narrow and petty, but after a dramatic Lasik surgery, he sensed "it was about to become narrow and petty in bold new ways." It's well worth going along with him for the ride.  Elevating Overman is funny, sad, and very, very engaging.
 -- Charlie Hauck, author, Artistic Differences.


"If Woody Allen, SJ Perelman, and Philip Roth had a son...that son and his three fathers would love this book! A great read! Outrageous, funny, sad, and wildly original!"
                                                    --Billy Van Zandt, TV writer-producer, playwright


"Bruce Ferber has come out of the gate with balls...Loaded with laughs, Elevating Overman makes you read late into the night when you have a court appearance the next morning...funny, sexy, and utterly original."
                                 --Dwight Slade, standup comedian, Winner Boston Comedy Festival

From the Back Cover

Elevating Overman is about a middle-aged Jewish guy who gets a second chance in life.  It is what he does with this second chance that "elevates" Overman.  Now unlike Ira Overman, I am a Gentile.  But like Ira Overman, I was given the gift of a second chance and elevate me, it did!  My second chance in life gave me the opportunity to befriend the author.  Bruce Ferber was our head writer on Home Improvement, and albeit a short man, he is a very clever, insightful and funny fellow indeed.  That alone gives me the confidence to say, "Congratulations, Bruce -- you've done it again."
                                                       --Tim Allen, actor, author and comic
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In Elevating Overman, Bruce Ferber has achieved the highly unusual -- a first novel that glows with sharp, but unpredictable insight.  Ira Overman confidently joins a long literary line of middle-aged anti-heroes who have been knocked down and have to learn how to walk all over again.  But before Overman can learn to walk, he must attempt to fly.  And see through women's clothes all the way to their souls.  And travel through time.  Ferber's triumph is that it's funny because it's true.
        
                                                      --Neal Marlens, creator, The Wonder Years
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 318 pages
  • Publisher: Fulcourt Press (May 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0985322101
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985322106
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #533,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this after I heard author Bruce Ferber on a radio interview describe this book as a "mid-life awakening" novel. He meant that in the usual mid-life crisis story, the protagonist turns his back on a financially successful or conventional life, and questions the values he has been living by. In "Elevating Overman", Ira Overman has been a loser and a washout for 55 years - divorced, estranged from his kids, a failure at the one entertainment executive position he had. Now, after lasik eye surgery, his life and luck suddenly changes. A hot woman half his age wants to make love to him, weird things like traffic jams suddenly disappear as he enters heavy traffic. A friend, who is into super-hero comic books, is convinced that Overman has become a super-hero, and wants to be his sidekick. It's enormous fun, as Overman confronts how his life is changing,and how he can "use his powers for good". This isn't high concept silliness. There's a lot of depth, and great character exploration. Without ruining the plot, Ferber finds inventive ways to help a woman he wronged in the past, and bring a father and son together. There are plenty of wild-over-the top moments as well, especially when Overman ends up working for a bigger-than-life Texan entrepreneur, who loans money at exorbitant rates to people with bad credit. The Texan's luck begins to change for the better, too, especially when he meets his fourth wife - a porn actress named Juicy Jones, who has a mind-boggling skill. Trust me, Ferber manages to be tasteful while pushing the envelope. I think you'll enjoy the ride, and appreciate this author's ability to portray believable character growth, and honest emotions, in the midst of chaotic and crazy events.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bruce Ferber's ELEVATING OVERMAN is one of the best novels I've read in a long while. It's funny, sometimes surprisingly poignant, and always surprising. Ira Overman is a low-profile shlub, a low-grade Everyman car salesman, resigned to a slowly sinking life as invisible loser in Los Angeles. He's divorced, lonely, has a deservedly distant relationship with his two kids, because he wasn't that great a father. What's wonderful about the story is that somehow Ira's choice to have Lasik surgery helps him turn his life around, slowly and steadily, as if it's given him some sort of super-powers. At the very least it gives him perspective, humility and honesty, as well as the ability to see his failings. And, more nobly, a desire to correct them as best he can. In the course of the book, he goes from abject loser to an admirable AND admired man. Elevated morally and intellectually, and forgiving of some of the bizarre or startling characters who cross his path. It's sweet, it's funny and it's very smart. Also chock full of some very funny and extreme characters, from his irritating life-long best friend, a perky sweet porn star, a cult leader with a taste for expensive collectible cars among others. There's even some Zen tucked in here. A thoroughly satisfying novel, at least for this reader.
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Format: Paperback
Bruce Ferber's protagonist, Ira Overman in his debut novel elevating Overman could be succinctly described as a "nebbish," which is the Yiddish expression for someone who is dismissed by many as ineffectual, luckless, timid, bumbling and pitifully ineffectual. A character we could associate with Woody Allen or George Costanza of the Seinfeld television series, and incidentally either one would be perfect for the role of Overman, if the novel were ever to be adapted as a movie.

Overman was not always a "nebbish," as he graduated from Columbia University with honors and initially was successfully employed as an entertainment executive for the studios, as well as positions with various management firms and talent agencies. Unfortunately, his talents were no longer needed and he is forced to accept a job as a car salesman with Steinbaum Mercedes of Calabasas, California.-a job he hates. He is also going through a mid-life crisis, and family wise he is divorced while his two children have abandoned him, blaming him for being a terrible father. His ex-wife, who remarried a sleazy doctor, is constantly putting him down. Not a pretty picture.

When Overman discovers a discount coupon in the Pennysaver for Life-Changing Vision Correction, he decides to follow it up and agrees to have Lasik eye surgery. The eye surgery is not only a great success but it also results into something he never imagined-being transformed from a useless individual to someone that now possesses super powers.

The results are immediate when he is able to defeat his obnoxious childhood friend, Jake Rosenfeld on the tennis court-a feat that rarely happened in the past.
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Format: Paperback
Ira Overman is a born loser; life is just humdrum; his best friend beats him at tennis; he's has little or no relationship with is kids and life just sucks. He decides to get Lasik surgery and after negotiating a price with the doctor, he finds that he may have superpowers. And the world changes as he tries to make life right.

Starts out slow, and Overman is not really a likeable character. His friend and soon to be sidekick Jake Rosenfarb is certainly not likeable. It is an interesting concept and it is fun to watch how Overman deals with his superpowers and trying to right the wrongs and make life not only for himself but others around him better. I didn't find it hysterical as other readers have.
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