Synopses & Reviews
Comedian-author Charlie Demers, whose brain-bending brand of black humor will be familiar to followers of CBC Radioand#8217;s The Debaters, offers his madcap perspective in a new collection of essays highlighting a wide range of topics under the heading of Bad Things. The Horrors is presented abecedarian-style, despoiling a beloved childrenand#8217;s book tradition in order to explore personal hangups that range from the slightly awkward to the down-right terrible.
Beginning with and#145;Aand#8217; for and#145;Adolescence,and#8217; Demers recalls his sexless teenage years spent in a Trotskyist sect, and and#145;Band#8217; for and#145;Bombingand#8217; offers a first-person account of the agonies of stand-up comedy gone wrong. and#145;Eand#8217; for and#145;End of the Worldand#8217; explores the wacky world of Preppers (YouTube how-to-prepare-for-the-apocalypse experts), while and#145;Fand#8217; for and#145;Fatand#8217; explains what life is like for those with both testicles and breasts. Other essays creep toward the pain side of the hilarity/agony line: and#145;Dand#8217; for and#145;Depressionand#8217; and and#145;Mand#8217; for and#145;Motherlessnessand#8217; traverse topics that more balanced minds might hesitate to make light of.
Fortunately, Demers does not let tact or sensibility deter him from pushing humor to its hysterical limit in order to examine our deepest fears. With artful insight, he never minimizes the very real pain inherent in some topics and uses comedy as a catharsis rather than a numbing agent. Dark, smart and funny, in the sunny world of The Book of Awesome and The Happiness Project, The Horrors will be a shadow . . . or at least a shadow puppet.
Author and stand up comedian Demers (Vancouver Special) offers insight both humorous and erudite on topics such as "D for Depression" "F for Fat" "M for Motherlessness" and "U for Union Busting" in 26 concise essays. Characterized by Demers's predominantly sarcastic tone the essays strike a balance between the comic and the absurd the political and the personal. Demers writes about his life and that of his family—including his mother dying from leukemia and his father coming out to his family as gay—with clarity transparency and sensitivity. It is clear that politics have from a young age charted the course of Demers's character and his socialist views are inextricable from his personality; many of the essays discuss them either intrinsically or as a side dish. In the second chapter "B for Bombing" the author writes: "Success in comedy is just as unambiguous as failure." This is the ethos by which Demers's work succeeds—whether he's considering failure or success his humor reminds the audience that life moves forward. Agent: John Pearce Westwood Creative Artists. (June) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
About the Author
Charles Demers is an author, stand-up comedian, and faculty in the Creative Writing Program at the University of British Columbia. His collection of essays, Vancouver Special (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2009), was shortlisted for the Hubert Evans BC Book Prize for Non-Fiction.