Norm MacDonald: Based on a True Story

Hello Everyone and Welcome Back to The Boss Book Club!

Today we will be looking at a truly unique read, an autobiography that contains almost no factual information about the author itself, but instead takes you on a bizarre journey of degradation and humour. I am talking about Norm MacDonald: Based on a True Story.

There are a couple of hurdles you will need to jump through before tackling this book. First of all, do you know who Canadian comedian Norm MacDonald is?

Norm MacDonald is known as a Comedian’s comedian. He is beloved by Louis C.K, who has written the introduction to the book, as well as by Jerry Seinfeld, Conan O’Brien and David Letterman. His humour is dry and drawling. He’s as laid back as you can get. He is not for everyone, and some don’t find him funny at all, but for me, the more you watch him, the funnier he gets. He has developed a very strong, somewhat cult following, as fans don’t just like him, they love him!

You may know him as one of the previous newsreaders for Saturday Night Live or for his movie Dirty Work. You may be vaguely aware of him from his cameos in various Adam Sandler or Rob Schneider movies. He also has his own podcast called Norm Macdonald Live. If it’s still not ringing any bells then I suggest hitting up good old Youtube and checking out his stand up, then watch the podcast, where he interviews famous comedians. The podcast, I should point out, contains some filthy, filthy language and good grief, if you watch the one with Gilbert Godfried…..

If you already are a big fan, or you become one after checking out his stuff, then this book is 100% a must read. Don’t read anymore of this review, just go and buy it right now. If you haven’t watched the podcast yet, then you should do that first to get the most out of it. If you’re not a fan, or are not converted, then don’t bother getting the book. It’s that simple- this book is for fans of Norm’s work, and they will love every page.

If you have watched the podcast, you will be familiar with his sidekick Adam Eget. He is a lowly servant, a holocaust denier, and a degenerate sex worker. He features heavily in the book, and if your opinion of him wasn’t already low enough, this tale serves nothing to improve his image. This “autobiography” discusses Norm’s early years, then takes you on a journey as Norm and Adam Eget travel to Vegas to play a high stakes game to resolve some serious gambling debts. It also chronicles Norm’s disputes with his downtrodden ghost writer.

It is a very, very funny book. It is an easy read, which I finished over two nights, in three hour sessions. There is almost no truth whatsoever in it from Norm’s life, and Norm has admitted in interviews that he “tricked” publishers into letting him write a story by pretending it would be an autobiography. It does however feature Canada, where he is from, discusses gambling, which he has a real life problem with, and talks a little about his work on Saturday Night Live, which he did do. Other than that, well just don’t trust anything…

The good news, for the Norm fans that will inevitably love this book, is that Norm has said he’s going to write a few more.

This is just the beginning…

Happy Reading from The Boss Book Club!

Fates & Furies

Hello Everyone and Welcome Back to The Boss Book Club!

Today we will be looking at one of the most beautifully written, astounding pieces of writing I’ve had the chance to enjoy at the tail end of last year- Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff.

I found this book by doing some research of the best novels of 2015. Fates and Furies was featured on multiple top ten lists around the place, and was even chosen by President Obama as his favourite book of the year. I figured, well if it’s good enough for the now former President, it’s good enough for me!

You shouldn’t be deceived by the topic of this book. The topic is marriage. A man named Lotto and a woman named Mathilde get married after only two weeks of dating, and this book tells about their marriage, from beginning to end, from both points of view. It sounds simple, it may sound boring- not your kind of thing- but I promise, if you are interested in the psychology of a person, interested in how two different people can think, feel and live, and the memories that shape their behaviour today, you will find no better book to explore that in than this.

Lauren’s work is incredible. These two central characters are so well written the experience is liking jumping into someone else’s mind completely. I’ve never read character work done so well. Both Mathilde and Lotto have their flaws, their talents, and of course, their secrets. This book is as much about what they share together in their marriage as what they hide, and there is certainly plenty of dramatic elements that push the story along- career highs and lows, money ups and downs, personal crises, and plenty of sex. This book tells the life of two people, in the moments together and apart, in a level of detail you won’t have experienced before.

Lauren’s writing style is easy to read and intimate. It is written in second person viewpoint, but Lauren has included little asides, written in brackets, that give the objective truth of the situation. Like this:

“The author of the Boss Book Club is thinking about eating a salad [She will back out and find her stash of stale Kit Kats].”

Except Lauren does it much better, about more interesting topics, such as what Lotto and Mathilde cannot see objectively about themselves or each other.

I thoroughly recommend this book for absolutely all adults. It will take you into a story of marriage, of personal growth, of truth and lies, that is detailed beyond belief, and never fails to be engaging. If you are a writer, it will show you character work done to perfection. If you are married, it will leave you thinking about a lot of things about yourself and your partner, and what makes a successful relationship. In terms of weaknesses, I would say that I found the first half of the book much more realistic and relatable than the second half. I feel that Lauren undoes some of her hard work in the second half by including a few melodramatic elements which I think cheapen the story a little.

I’ve left this review as vague as I can because it’s truly worth experiencing it for yourself.

 

Now, I’m going to go make myself a salad!

 

Happy Reading and thanks for joining us at The Boss Book Club!