Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Happiest People in the World by Brock Clarke

Review based on ARC.

I have been meaning to read anything by Brock Clarke for years! I'm so glad I won this ARC and was "forced" to read it now (sooner, rather than later). He IS funny and smart and dry and witty and thoughtful and enjoyable to read!

This book.... how to describe it. Jens is a newspaper-political cartoonist in Denmark. When an assignment goes horribly awry, an assassin tries to kill him, and the CIA must step in. He heads to the American northeast, to a small town in New York and poses as a high school guidance counselor. And.... that tells you kind of nothing about the book, but serves as a skeleton. And it's not worth anything because what is great about this story has nothing to do with its plot. Rather, it's the characterization and descriptions and humor and observations of an outsider looking in... and of insiders looking at an outsider that make this book so wonderful to read.

It's a quick read, it's funny, it's though-provoking... It presents political and social commentary without being preachy, and it's a story about chances and second chances. One of my favorite things about the book.... I couldn't possibly tell you because it's a spoiler.  But I will say (and I really don't think you should read this unless you've already read the book), I finished the book, laid my head down to sleep, then had a Eureka! moment, where I had to re-read the first chapter. Love what he did there. (highlight to see spoiler)

Highly recommend for people who are looking for a funny, dark, thoughtful commentary, or just an amusing tale about a Dane in New York....

FOUR of five stars.

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