Dean Lorey,
Jack Icefloe Jackson's Romance for Men: Pandora's Box
(Disobedient Dragon, 2014)

I'm no prude. I enjoy bawdy humor as much as the next guy, and more than some.

That said, Jack Icefloe Jackson's Romance for Men: Pandora's Box is pretty dumb.

Purportedly by the eponymous Jackson, the book is actually by Emmy-nominated writer Dean Lorey, who has written for Arrested Development and scripted Friday the 13th, Part 9: Jason Goes to Hell. I can understand why he didn't want his real name on this book.

Yeah, yeah, I get the joke. Pandora's Box is a romance novel for men, if men wrote romance novels. Thus, Jackson is overweight and balding, crass, insensitive and, for no apparent reason, completely irresistible to all women. He basically spends his life drinking, having sex at every turn and throwing dynamite at things -- he is completely amoral when it comes to murder for minor annoyances -- until President Obama himself gives Jackson orders to save the planet from destruction when a woman's vagina blows up.

Yeah, that's the plot.

In my defense, I read the book because of the high praise it garnered from the likes of Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Will Arnett. What were they thinking? Can someone please verify that the quotes included on the back cover (and repeated inside the book and in the press materials) are real, and that they didn't all just owe Lorey a favor?

The story involves Nazis, a consultation with the Pope, a shoe-selling witch who gives sensitivity lessons, a threesome on Jackson's late wife's coffin with his late wife's two sisters, and sex with a nun, a robot, a busload of porn stars and a quadriplegic, among others -- some of whom spontaneously combust at the climax.

It might have worked better as a short story. It's not that I'm offended, although the scene where Jackson contemplates the size of a 6-year-old boy's "package" crossed the line. Otherwise, some of the material here is admittedly pretty funny, but the one-note joke only carries so far. At 152 pages, including cute, black-and-white illustrations by Dave McKenna, it's just too damn long.

book review by
Tom Knapp

18 October 2014

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