Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dave Barry Slept Here by Dave Barry

Reviewed by Liesl

Published: 1997

It's about: As the subtitle suggests: "A sort of history of the United States." It is essentially a history of the United States according to Dave Barry, from the early Native Americans to the Revolutionary War to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff to the Bush senior administration, only it leaves out the boring stuff and focuses on more interesting things, even if they aren't historically accurate or even relevant to the topic. He includes inaccurate maps, parodies of hit songs, and declares that all historical events occurred on October 8th, for easier remembering. There's a rare serious moment in this book, as it is intended solely for laughs.

I thought: Hilarious. I think it helps to know a lot of the history going on to appreciate the satire. I couldn't stop laughing at some of the things he wrote, like the history behind the name of Plymouth Rock. I think I got more out of this book than I did in my 10th grade U.S. History class. Dave Barry makes it light-hearted, entertaining, and memorable. His commentary for each significant event was amusing, and it made for a good read. There were times where I couldn't breathe because I was laughing so hard. Oh, Dave Barry, you card.

Verdict: Stick it on the shelf? Please?

Reading Recommendations:You can read it in one sitting, or if you can only stand so much of humor writers at once, I'd read a chapter today. Go somewhere quiet, where people don't have to hear that embarrassing snort that you too often employ. And please do share, because it's so entertaining. The book, I mean, not the snort.

Warnings: Swears a little bit. You might not have the same sense of humor as Dave Barry, or even a sense of humor at all. I think the only time you would ever find yourself offended is because you just got kicked out of the library for laughing too loudly while reading this book. I would also not recommend this for any 8th grader expected to do a summary of the history of the U.S., because it is definitely not accurate.

Favorite excerpts: "Hundreds of thousands of years ago, America was very different. There was no civilization: no roads, no cities, no shopping malls, no Honda dealerships. There were, of course, obnoxious shouting radio commercials for car dealerships; these have been broadcast toward Earth for billions of years by the evil Planet of Men Wearing Polyester Sport Coats, and there is nothing anybody can do to stop them. But back then, you see, there was no way to receive them, so things were pretty peaceful."