Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Book Review: Dave Barry's Lessons from Lucy (2019)

I've been following Dave Barry since his nationally syndicated column in the Miami Herald as a teenager. (For those of you who don't want to research the timeline, that's about 20 years ago.) I wasn't expecting much from Barry's latest book--after all, it's marketed as "self-help," and Barry excels when he notices and mocks the ordinary. "Mocking" and "earnest self-help advice" don't mesh well, so I figured Barry was just cashing in on his name and reputation to pay for his daughter's college tuition. Boy, was I wrong. This book is one of Barry's best. 
First, if you are a dog lover, you have to get this book. Second, if you're not a dog lover, don't worry--Barry refers to Lucy after his usual storytelling, using her as a sort of canine muse. The book does get overly sentimental in places, but only three or four times total. (e.g., "Do not be afraid to say these words: I was wrong. I made a mistake. I'm sorry. I apologize.") 

More common are the following thoughts, such as when Barry participates in a corporate pro-diversity program: "Inside we were seething. We were ready to go out and join the [Ku Klux] Klan. Even the black employees." I'll end with one of Barry's best paragraphs: "So what I'm saying to you, especially if you're getting up in years, is: Don't settle for contentment. Don't just stand around grinning. Get out there. It's a wonderful world." 

No comments: