Rob Kroese,
The Force is Middling in This One
(CreateSpace, 2010)

This is not a novel, but a book of humor based upon author Rob Kroese's longstanding blog. If you've read Kroese's excellent novel, Mercury Falls, you know that he can be wickedly funny and highly irreverent. I am accustomed to reviewing novels that have a story. The Force is Middling in This One is not a novel but, like his blog, it is wickedly funny at times and highly irreverent. Everything is fair game, including the author himself.

The chapters are named with quotes from the original Star Wars trilogy, and the quotes are roughly tied to the contents of their respective chapters. Inside the chapters, there are sections that are titled also, and those titles relate directly to the section content. Those section titles give you an idea of the diversity of topics that are covered, and the level of irreverence.

Section titles include: I Can't Gopher That (No Can Do), I Think My Cat May Be On Drugs, No (Pointing Out) Fat Chicks, Harry Potter & the Inevitable Slide into Satanism, and My Jesus is Whiter Than Yours.

To give you an idea of what the humor is like, the section after which the book is titled, The Force is Middling in This One, is a series of cover letters from Luke Skywalker's less-talented cousin, as he seeks a job in the Empire. He starts by applying to be a Jedi assistant, and then works his way down, as his desperation grows.

I am used to reading a story, with a beginning, middle, end and a flow with characters to follow along a plot. Reading this book is different. Instead of sitting down for a family-style meal with courses, this is more like walking through a buffet, where you pick and choose what you want. You might like everything you get, but you enjoy the variety and, if it is a good buffet, most of it is good. Most of this book is good. I ended up smiling and chuckling often.

Some pieces are even quotable. My favorite was (paraphrased) is: An optimist is like the guy who invented the airplane; a pessimistic is like the guy who invented the parachute.

If you liked the humor of Don Rickles or Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, this book has some similarities, only a bit milder. There is lots of satire and ridicule. Nothing is off limits as a possible target -- well, almost. Kroese is pretty complimentary toward his wife and children. Everything else is a possible target, though.

This is a good book to read while traveling, or to read at night-time or at lunch. An audio version would be great while commuting. If you laugh easily, you'll laugh. If you're easily offended, you'll be offended. Those things might occur simultaneously.

book review by
Chris McCallister

16 April 2011

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