Synopses & Reviews
Phil Camp has a problem. Not that he wrote a self-help parody, Where Can I Stow My Baggage?,
that the world took seriously and became a bestseller, or that he’s been using a phony name. No, Phil’s problem is the limp he’s had for months. His constant pain leads him to Dr. Samuel Abrun, a real doctor who wrote a real self-help book (The Power of "Ow!"
) that has made thousands of people pain-free.
So what happens when the self-help fraud meets the genuine item? Does Phil get better? Can he hobble out of his own way to help himself? Most important, can the reader make it through fifty pages without thinking, Wait a minute. Is that a twinge I feel in my lower back, or just gas?
Phil embraces the doctor’s unorthodox treatments, but saves some passion for Abrun’s daughter Janet—who has her own theories about relieving his pain. Meanwhile, Phil delves into his dark past with the Irish Shrink, his psychotherapist. And to top it off, Phil confronts his nemesis, a right-wing radio blowhard, only to find out they share a common enemy—the same family.
Like Carl Hiassen and Larry David, Bill Scheft knows that the best humor is excruciating. In Everything Hurts, pain is the ultimate jester.
“I have lived this story in real life, though mine wasn't nearly as funny, poignant, or compelling as his. On the other hand, I believe I'm much better looking than the fellow in this book and could probably take him in a fight.”
“The writing is swift and breezy but with an underlying message that deals with guilt and pain. Because it's a novel, it’s more sit-down comedy than stand-up. . . . Sometimes you laugh only when it hurts.”
—Charles Lee Boyd, The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)
“Pain is king and laughter is his fool. . . . The book achieves a subtle poignancy.”
“Letterman writer Scheft skewers physical and emotional pain with a mercilessly comic touch and a bit of poignancy. . . . Phil is a wonderful protagonist, and Scheft’s biting wit coexists nicely with the undercurrent of uplift.”
“A painfully funny novel.”
—The Daily Beast
“Many mordant one-liners . . . Scheft is a skillful writer who can find laughs in unlikely situations.”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“A wincingly funny, honest, and sardonic novel.”
"How rare it is for a novel to be both hilarious and profoundly moving.
“Like [Woody] Allen, Scheft seems to know his way around the psychiatrist’s couch; he has a keen sense of the emotional pathways of depression and of how therapy awkwardly leads people into and out of their worst experiences. . . . Scheft’s rendering of family dysfunction is consistently sturdy. Much like Phil’s fictitious self-help book: meant as a gag, but with enough smarts to be taken seriously.”
“[Bill Scheft] plays both ends against the middle, satirizing our glib and cynical pop culture in a glib and cynical novel. Phil grows on us despite himself.”
—Amanda Heller, The Boston Globe
“A hysterical journey of self-discovery. . . . Falling-down funny.”
—Kurt Rabin, The Free Lance-Star (Fredricksburg, Va.)
“A stylistic cross between Don Rickles and Michael Chabon.”
—Ben Kaplan, The National Post (Canada)
“Satisfying as it is quirky . . . Scheft knows how to create characters which stay in your head long after you finish the book.”
“How rare it is for a novel to be both hilarious and profoundly moving. In Everything Hurts
Bill Scheft is firing on all eight rumbling, throaty cylinders.”
About the Author
Bill Scheft, a 15-time Emmy-nominated writer for David Letterman, is the author of two previous novels, The Ringer and Time Won't Let Me, which was a finalist for the 2006 Thurber Prize for American Humor. He has also written for the The New Yorker, The New York Times, Esquire and Sports Illustrated. He lives in New York City with his wife, comedian Adrianne Tolsch.