- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (April 29, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0374281629
- ISBN-13: 978-0374281625
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 8.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,951,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lamentations of the Father: Essays Hardcover – April 29, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Accomplished social satirist Frazier's latest collection reminds us why the novelist and essayist is one of America's funniest living writers. The much-quoted title piece, originally published in the Atlantic Monthly, gives voice to every parent's battle with table manners, bath time and various laws, statutes and ordinances concerning biting (don't), sand (not edible) and pets (not to be taped). Equally entertaining are Frazier's self-declared role as spokesman for crows, complete with slogan (Crows: We Want to Be Your Only Birdâ¢) and his mock exposé on the truth behind history's most famous phrases. Caesar's I came, I saw, I conquered is, according to Frazier, simply an early example of mankind's obsession with the sound bite, a snappier version of: I came, I saw, I conquered, I had a snack, I took a bath, and I went to bed, because I was exhausted. A treat for Frazier fanatics and new readers alike, this compilation from the past 13 years has nary a misstep and begs to be read in one sitting. Researchers, Frazier says, have determined that life is too hard. But it's easier with Frazier at the helm. (May)
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"Ian Frazier is an antidote for the blues."--The Boston Globe
"Warning . . . reading [Frazier's essays] in the bathroom, on the subway, or in other heavy-traffic areas may force you to have to explain to others what's making you guffaw so loudly."--Entertainment Weekly
"America's greatest essayist."--The Los Angeles Times
"Frazier is a master of the trade and for those cursed with literacy, an absolute howl."--The Buffalo News
"Hilarious . . . [Frazier's] sense of humor is so uncanny and surprising it’s nearly impossible not to be charmed. Highly entertaining."--Kirkus Reviews
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Top customer reviews
I've always abhorred books that are "a collection of essays" for much this same reason. Reading them one at a time in a magazine seems to make them so much better. Reading them this way seems to take some wind out of the sails. While I will continue to read and enjoy Ian Frazier's essays whenever I find them, I won't be buying any more collections. The pleasure of reading them just isn't there.
Like others, the title essay and a handful of others were found to be quite funny, but most others did not live up to the same standard.
Where David Sedaris makes (often successful) use of self deprecation, Ian Frazier uses pure and delicious wit.
If you don't find slapstick comedy funny, this might be a book for you. Otherwise, keep on laughing about
people falling down stairs and making funny faces!
If all of the essays were like that, I would have rated this book 4 stars. Most of them, however, are different, somewhat like a lengthy elaboration on a Jack Handy quote, somewhat like an above-average example of an article from The Onion. I thought these were so-so; something about them just didn't click for me. Your mileage may vary.
And then there a few (like the "Cursing Mommy" ones) that seem to be based on the premise that offensive things are intrinsically funny. Certainly, Frazier isn't the only humorist who seems to feel that way, but I don't, and there's no way I could give this book as a gift to those in the (prudish, puritanical, call them whatever you want) circles I run in.