Friday, February 8, 2013

Insane City by Dave Barry

Title: Insane City

Author: Dave Barry

Read by: Dave Barry

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Length: Approximately 8 hours (7 CDs)

Source: Penguin Audio Review Copy – Thank-you!

I love Dave Barry’s humor. I was a fan of his newspaper column in years past and I also enjoyed his humorous novel, Lunatics (co-authored with Alan Zweibel) last year. While I enjoyed the first part of Lunatics, I thought it spiraled off too far into crazy during the last half of the novel. Happily, Insane City was able to keep a great, consistent, yet surprising humorous story throughout the novel. I greatly enjoyed listening to the audiobook on my trips to and from work, and the constant laughs it elicited in me helped to break the monotony of my drive.

Seth Weinstein is not that successful in life. His career is writing tweets for douche, but he has been successful in love. Tina is a beautiful high powered attorney from a wealthy family. Seth knows she is way out of his league, but he is more than a little bit happy that she has agreed to become his wife. Tina has always enjoyed Seth’s brand of humor and the fact that he is a nice guy, but the wedding has transformed her into a bit of a bridezilla. Seth is afraid to let Tina down. Everything is going smoothly until his “groom posse” leads him out for a night on the town once they arrive in Florida right before the wedding.

Suddenly, Seth finds himself in a series of unfortunate, but hilarious events. As he makes his way through them with the ultimate goal of finding Tina’s lost wedding ring and making it to the wedding on time, Seth finds out many truths about himself, Tina, and his friends. He also makes a host of new memorable friends as well.

One item that I thought was brilliant in this book was the juxtaposition of the Haitian refugees with the debauchery of the bachelor party / wedding. While the refugees were literally fighting for their life, hoping for a better one in American, the consumption of the entire wedding party was crass. It was jarring to go from hilarity to sobriety, but I thought it made an excellent point on our society. It also soon became part of the main story once the refugees were rescued by our hero. There were many points that Barry made in this novel that were so true to human nature, it was humor in its best form – a great point that makes us laugh while also makes us think about our own humanity.

Dave Barry was the narrator of this audiobook and he was excellent. He brought the novel to life. I sometimes wondered how he could read the novel without laughing himself!

Overall, Insane City is a wacky comedy that has shades of The Hangover and Bridesmaids, but it ultimately goes beyond those stories to become a hilarious story that also showcases our humanity.

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