Friday, March 14, 2008

Him Her Him Again the End of Him by Patricia Marx

Don’t you just want to punctuate that title? I keep looking at it hoping that commas will appear.

I thought this might be okay to listen to and for a while it was. The book is funny in a chick lit kind of way but without the constant references to shopping and shoes. Then it got dull, but I wanted to find out how it ended, so I ditched the audiobook and checked out the hardcover from the library. Neither was really worth my trouble. It’s kind of clever at the beginning, where the unnamed female protagonist (“Her”) goes to Cambridge for graduate school and falls for an intellectual cad named Eugene (“Him”). I liked the academic jokes and her constantly changing thesis topic (possibilities include “The Relation Between Racial Tension and the Influx of Better Cuts of Meat to Great Britain”), but once Eugene dumps her (for the first time) and she returns to the U.S. (sans finished thesis or Cambridge degree) the book really starts to drag. Eugene is so shallow and annoying that it’s difficult to buy the continuing hold he has on her, and his ultimate demise could have come 50 pages sooner.

Patricia Marx is a humor writer with a good resume, including work with Saturday Night Live and the Harvard Lampoon. A reviewer on Amazon noted that the book is just like one of those Saturday Night Live skits that starts out funny, but just goes on and on and on…. I think that’s an accurate analysis.

(Book 9, 2008)


Doreen Orion said...

I had lunch with a bunch of local writers yesterday and one of them said to never use commas in your title, that it can hurt sales. (Another one snapped back, "Oh, like Eat, Pray, Love?" But, then we thought about it and realized it has no commas.)

She said her first book had a comma in the title and that hampered people's ability to search for it. I'd never heard that before. I wonder if the publisher of HIM HER HIM AGAIN THE END OF HIM - and of EPL - knew what they were doing when they left the commas out.

Becky Holmes said...

Doreen, that is so interesting. I bet that's it. The book cover uses italics to set off a few words in the title, which makes it a bit easier to parse. But only a little.

heather (errantdreams) said...

I never would have thought of the effect commas would have on searching for a book. That's really fascinating. And too bad, because yeah, I really want to add commas to that title!

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