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Book Review

Book Cover

People Suck


Author: Jeff McCarley
Publisher: Independently Published

114 pages
RRP: $9.99
ISBN: 978 109192 077 4
Publication Date: 30 March 2019

These days humour is hard to come by (I know, tell me about it) but Jeff McCarley finds beaucoup bullseyes in that vast target range we call human nature. You know, humanity that forgives itself of unforgiveable nutheadedness or even boasts to the world of its doofus excesses and egomaniacal stupidity. Egomania is one thing, McCarley ponders, but hitching it to stupid takes it to a level of transcendent donkey-kong. He zeros in on personalities and common social situations in this loose autobiography - from childhood to Marine Corps flight mechanic to civilian life - as a means of preserving his sanity. People Suck is his gift to us for preserving ours.

McCarley’s ability to find laughs in familiar situations and psyches bumped into all too often is high octane. We’re talking here an average of two to three laughs per page. This is Joan Rivers terrain. Some laughs are smiles and chuckles, some grunts and groans, others that iridium of humour: outright belly laughs. I’m a hard case but some of these required a full skid stop and pause to celebrate the mirth in McCarley’s misery. No small feat and a reminder that comedy beats the hell out of tragedy since the Greeks onward.

McCarley’s clever descriptions are set-ups for psychological denuding. We see it coming, a verbal Caterpillar tractor, in the recombinant adverbs and adjectives. His dialogue and sense of slang unfolds the manifold stupidity of how stupid, stupid can be. He’s not dealing in arcane behaviour here, more like everyman (and everywoman) stupid that we ourselves know and encounter every day. Is this misanthropic? Yeah, but who cares? He doesn’t make fun of the physically different, the hindered or the damaged, just normal people who have chosen this benighted path. It’s the choice to be a buffoon, I think, that alarms and dismays the philosopher inside the author here. Human nature. In its natural form. And it’s said, with evolution we get better. McCarley questions this. It is his air-dropped burden that keeps bonking him on the head and he resolutely offloads the pallet with a cynical hoot.

If you have a friend in hospital and you want to take a book to cheer them up, this is the choice. Just make sure they don’t have delicate stitches.

I’m waiting for People Suck II.


John Huff

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