Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Everything Hurts by Bill Scheft

Title:  Everything Hurts: A Novel
Author:  Bill Scheft  
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster  
Publication Date:  April 7, 2009
Format:  Hardcover, 288 pages
Age Group:  Adult

Phil Camp is in pain.  A lot of pain.  Despite being the author of a self-help book, which was actually supposed to be a spoof, Phil cannot rid himself of the pain.  He also cannot rid himself of Marty Fleck, the name under which his book was actually published.  Marty now continues to write a newspaper column and people soak up his 'wisdom,' which started out as a joke.  In his attempt to rid himself of his limp and the pain behind it, Phil goes on a journey of self-discovery with a true self-help guru and the Irish Shrink.

I know I requested this book for review some time ago but each time I went to read it I could not figure out why on earth I had requested it.  Bill Scheft is a writer for David Letterman and writes humor.  My husband says I have no sense of humor and I know that in the past I haven't found books that rely on humor at the expense of people to be funny.  I still don't know what made me request Everything Hurts: A Novel but I'm really glad I did!

Bill Scheft truly brings to life Phil Camp's pain and his struggle to understand where it is coming from.  The characters in this book are bizarre and quirky.  The writing is very fast paced, even when it seems nothing is actually happening.  Flippant remarks fly and many of the conversations make no sense especially to Phil.  Phil's family history is pieced together from the odd conversation with the Irish Shrink or from a memory that triggers or is triggered by the pain.  Many of the relationships are not at all what they appear to be on the surface.

Just like Marty Fleck, Bill Scheft manages to impart insights about the human condition in an irreverent, flippant, off-hand manner that belies the deeper thought underneath.

Thank you to Nettie from Hartsock Communications for sending me a review copy of Everything Hurts: A Novel.


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