A Novel With No Other Purpose Other Than to Entertain! Just Plain Fun!
Lunatics, Dave Barry & Alan Zweibel
It’s been a while since I read a novel that doesn’t take itself seriously and is just about being pure entertainment. This is easily the best novel that either Barry or Zweibel have created. Not sure how they divided the writing of Lunatics, the tale is narrated by two characters who couldn’t be more opposite. I liked how the story was hardly ever backtracked on to recount a scene from the other characters point of view, instead it just keeps on going, keeping you moving, like these two are, as they are on the run. One character is Jefferey Peckerman, a self absorbed jerk who finds fault with just about everything and everyone. Nothing is ever his fault in a world full of idiots he’s always right. He’s not afraid to criticise others including their culture or gender. If you’ve read Help! A Bear is Eating Me! by Mykle Hansen, which I reviewed here last year, Peckerman is very similar to that book’s narrator.
The other narrator Philip Hormkan couldn’t be more opposite. He’s very content with his simple life as a family man and pet shop owner. He donates his spare time refereeing 11 year old girls’ soccer games, even though he doesn’t have an 11 year old daughter simply because he enjoys doing so. He’s actually very similar to Zweibel’s main character in his novel The Other Shulman, so maybe Zweibel wrote the Horkman chapter and Barry the Peckerman ones, but who knows?
What Lunatics is, is a tale that will take both these characters out of their comfortable regular lives, have them constantly at each others throats, then forced to flee the police, US government, terrorists and all kinds of adversaries as they become the most famous fugitives in the world, while changing the world Forrest Gump style at the same time. Both authors have written a few other novels. Although he’s written quite a few funny junior fiction novels, Barry hasn’t written an adult fiction novel for a while, with the last being Tricky Business in 2002, so it’s great to see something like Lunatics after a ten year wait. If you like this eccentric character filled fun novel, you might want to check out authors like Carl Hiaasen, Bill Fitzhguh, Ben Rehder and Mark Haskell Smith.
You just can’t not enjoy this novel!