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House of Cards: The True Story of How a 26-Year-Old Fundamentalist Virgin Learned about Life, Love, and Sex by Writing Greeting Cards Paperback – Bargain Price, November 2, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- Sara Barron, author of People Are Unappealing
"House of Cards is hilarious and amazing. What a marvelous relief it is to discover, at long last, that there's life on other planets, specifically Planet Dickerson in the galaxy HooBoy! It's amazingly wonderfully weird."
- Bob Shacochis, National Book Award-winning author of Easy in the Islands and The Immaculate Invasion --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
I do have to agree with the squirmers. Reading this memoir is like watching a train wreck in slow motion: ugly, destructive and ultimately pointless. What he reveals about his state of mind and personal exploits bodes poorly for him as a human being as well as a writer. Even though he has earned the proper credential for a writer, and MFA, it is painfully obvious that he fundamentally lacks two basic qualities for successful writing (or living, for that matter): insight into himself as well as into others. His defining characteristic is an all-encompassing narcissism that makes either one of these impossible.
For example, he spends a great deal of time writing about other people's religious convictions. Whenever he does, he portrays all of them with the same broad brush. Not once does he allow that religious people may actually have variant beliefs. (Incidentally, the book is falsely advertised as the author is a former fundamentalist but really a Catholic during the part of his life that the story tells--but "fundamentalist virgin" may have a greater commercial appeal than "Catholic virgin?") When talking about his own beliefs, he proclaims himself liberated from his caricatured fundamentalist background. If that were so, why the rants that ultimately lead nowhere but into nasty, self-righteous religious bigotry?
Women fare equally poorly.Read more ›
What he's good at, and loves doing, is writing word puzzles and funny poems. When he gets the chance to work at the Hallmark greeting card company, he thinks he's found the perfect job. So he moves hundreds of miles away from his family and fiancee and, for the first time in his life, tries to fit in in the corporate world.
You can pretty much guess what happens next. Between his own quirkiness and the vagaries of corporate culture, David has a tough time at Hallmark. He does make some good friends. He also alienates several bosses and has an excruciatingly hard time figuring out the unwritten rules at his new workplace.
This is a well-written, cleverly observed, and very funny book. I also found it mildly disturbing, because I think Dickerson sometimes reveals more about himself than he realizes. It's still not clear to me, for instance, that he understands how deep the divide was between his own "romantic" but essentially self-centered fantasies about his relationship and his fiancee's actual needs and desires. And it takes the poor guy forever to figure out that some of his perfectly innocent habits are annoying the crap out of his patient but uncommunicative coworkers. At many points in the book, I felt simultaneously sympathetic and incredibly irritated with him.
Ultimately, though, I think Dickerson's perhaps unintentionally unsparing portrait of himself is what makes this such a good book. This was a one-day read for me; I picked it up and almost literally didn't put it down until I finished it. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys funny memoirs about quirky people.
But I'm disappointed that David went out of his way to malign some really good managers, writers, and editors, all the while trying to convince the reader that they were just too uncool to recognize his sheer genius. I didn't dislike David, but he was not brilliant (or at least he didn't exhibit brilliance, if he was), and he alienated a lot of people for some really sound reasons.
I found David's admission on page 12 really telling: "I've always despaired of ever impressing anyone with my resume, and my writing so far had gotten almost no attention. But I know that in person I'm charming. It's what I've counted on my whole life to get me out of trouble for being late, or for forgetting assignments, or for all the other difficulties that my absentminded brain gets me into. People are generally receptive to my jokes and my friendly nature, as long as they aren't humorless office manager types."
This explains a lot, because David missed a fair number of meetings, writing deadlines, and other important obligations. "Charm" (and I'm being generous to use his word, although I wouldn't call him charming - just friendly) doesn't make up for that. Sometimes his jokes were really funny, and sometimes they bombed. David's book also misrepresents the creative work process at Hallmark to the point where I would characterize it as a fictional account. Maybe his lack of understanding contributed to why he struggled so much in his job? But for all you readers who think, "Oh, THIS is what it's like on the inside...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hilarious, thought provoking book- if you have just discovered David Ellis Dickerson, you are in for a treat. I suggest you order every one of his books...now!Published 14 months ago by theresa fischer
I read this book for a book club I belong to. Kind of boring.Published 23 months ago by Mom and Therapist for Autistic children and their families
Author Dickerson tells a fine ridiculously-late-coming-of-age story. The inside story of Hallmark (Anycompany, USA) is laugh out loud funny. Highly recommend.Published on March 2, 2014 by LKAgno
Dave Dickerson is a master of the english language - his story of his story is entertaining. I should probably say that I knew who he was when I bought the book. Read morePublished on February 19, 2014 by Keri L. Lappas
I know the author and sent him the following note, which I'll also share here in adapted form.
"This is a straight-up Bildungsroman of an early career, and of a... Read more
I was reading over some of the one star reviews and I can't say I agree. I was not looking for nonfiction about the greeting card business. Read morePublished on December 30, 2012 by Destiny T.
I recently worked with David for a brief stint writing on a game show. I decided to go ahead and read his book after incessantly hearing about it from him. Read morePublished on September 20, 2012 by Swill
It looks as though I am going to join the recent chorus panning this second-rate story. The cliché title should have told me to give this a wide berth. Read morePublished on March 16, 2012 by LizisKing
An altogether unoriginal and dreadfully executed work.It was a total bore. Not worth wasting the time to read.I do not recommend this book to anyone. It just isn't that funny. Read morePublished on March 7, 2012 by Katerates