I met Joe Barrett at the Austin Book Fair last fall. He’s one of the BRW writers who took over the booth that Saturday afternoon, relieving me from the morning shift. Reagan Rothe introduced us. We had some time to chat during the overlap and I found Joe to be great guy.
So, before I left, I brought a copy of Joe’s first book, Managed Care, and got him to inscribe it.
It has since sat in my tall stack of TBR books.
I’ve recently attacked that stack with a passion because I wanted to get through a bunch of new authors I have met on twitter and post reviews of their works. I really believe that writers should support each other. We are not competitors. Reading is like eating. People are always hungry for more good writing.
I’m confident enough that readers will snack on my books when they appear on the shelf. After all, its zero calories.
And reviews are the life blood for any author.
Plus, when you read new writers, you are sometimes forced to go out of your comfort zone and check out genres you may normally avoid. It’s been a great experience.
A rising tide floats all boats.
I also wanted to get through my TBR stack before Finding Jimmy Moran drops on April 13th. Once that happens, my focus will next turn to the LA Bookfest on April 22-23rd,
where I will be working booth 60 with my wonderful cross-over author and dear friend Christy Cooper Burnett.
Christy’s lead character from Passport To Terror, Madison Taylor, makes a cross-over appearance in Finding Jimmy Moran. I highly recommend anyone who liked TCT to read PPTT before reading FJM.
I’m pretty sure this crossover event is a first among living writers.
Then I have to start seriously focusing on the sequel, Where The Ley Lines Meet. Once this happens I won’t be reading any books because (a) I won’t have any free time to do so, and (b) I don’t want to be influenced by other writers when I’m writing.
Anyway, I finally got to Joe’s book last week, and have been trying to cobble together the time to get through it, I normally don’t read on weeknights because my eyes are exhausted after a day of lawyering.
But I’m telling you, I was stealing time each night to read Joe’s book. I finished it yesterday afternoon.
It is the funniest book I have ever read.
Since I never know when Amazon will get around to posting my reviews, I include it here.
Headline: Funniest Book I’ve Ever Read.
I love everything about this book. The set up. The characters. The pace. The dialogue. Everything. The primary characters – Frank Johnson, who is absolutley brilliant and irreverent, and Elroy (endearing) and Sally (precocious) are delightful. But the secondary and tertiary characters are equally brilliant. I’m not lying, I laughed out loud at least every other page. A lot of observational humor. Cleverness. I kept picturing Ryan Reynolds playing Frank, he’s that kind of character. But the two kids, Elroy (nod to the Jetsons) and Sally, were equally wonderful. There is also a poignancy to the story – and a sweetness – and you cannot help but root for everything to work out. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but if I were to tell you one book you need to read before you die, this one is it. ”
Small world note – it turns out that Joe and I went to the same undergrad – Fordham University, Rose Hill campus in Da Bronx. Although Joe attended decades behind me and stuck it out and graduated. (Although I did manage to graduate from FU’s law school.)
Joe used to bartend at the Jolly Tinker to support himself while in school. It is a Fordham area establishment my friends and I from the Pre Weekend Warmup Club (“PWWC”) at Fordham would visit on a regular basis. My Riverdale local, back in the day, Coaches II, used to play football against the JT in the bar league. Always a bloodbath. Good times.
So it is no surprise that Joe and I have a similar irreverent view of the world.
So much so, that Joe’s main character, Frank Johnson, could have easily been a character in Finding Jimmy Moran.
In fact, I would love to work Frank into my sequel as a passing reference. Have to speak to Joe about it.
Simply put, in Bronxese, Joe Barrett is funny as fuck.
So, if you want a great read to fill your next few weeks while you are waiting for FJM to drop, I highly recommend Managed Care by Joe Barrett.
Okay, so yesterday, before I sat down to finish MC, I spent my day shoveling mule muffins. Since it was a nice day, I managed to not only finish the side paddock, the backproperty and the back yard, but I had enough gas left in the tank to also do the front property. Now I don’t usually care about the front because the mules have a tendency to shit along a stretch you can’t really see from the roadway or from my front windows. Out of sight, out of mind. Those muffins are now usefully fertilizing the bases of the trees out front.
I was on fire. Now my back is. Perfect for a Monday.
Well, since I’m already sore, I might as well deal with the inevitable. Monday awaits.
But first a kitty cuddle, my rounds and the dreadmill.
You fine, five readers have that third cuppa java and then once more into the breach.
But, whatever else you do, make today a great one.