Friday, June 30, 2006

The Pleasure of My Company

I picked up "The Pleasure of My Company" by comedian Steve Martin thinking that it would be a short and funny read for the summertime. Well, it was short and was amusing in spots but mostly it was bittersweet, tender, poignant and moving. At least, I found it to be so. It's the story of Daniel, the intelligent and neurotic narrator, who invites readers into his otherwise nearly closed off world of "magic squares", curb phobia and observation. Living in San Diego and unable to hold a job, the chief objects of his attentions are a pretty real estate agent, a cute pharmacist and his student therapist. He receives occasional letters from his Granny in Texas but otherwise he appears to be completely isolated from his family. On a trip to Rite Aid to check out his favorite pharmacist, he absent-mindedly completes a 500-word essay on an entry form for a "Most Average American" contest. He wins the contest (twice), which necessitates him giving a speech. This seems to be the wedge into Daniel's life, letting in all kinds of changes. The story reduced me to tears in spots and moments later I was laughing out loud (lol). As I read the book, I must admit to hearing Martin's voice, but it was not distracting or intrusive. The book is available in the audio format with Martin reading -- I would think this would be a very "pleasant" way to read the book.

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