Life…What A Pain In The Ass!

I am happy and honored to make my first post here for one of my favorite books in the last year. It is written by a brilliant author Bill Scheft, who also is on the writing staff of The Letterman Show. By posting this as my inaugural review, I am able to convey a little of what my blog is all about.

The Hurley Edition is a blog where I will write my own reviews of books that I have read. (I read a lot of books!) Also, while I may include some of the latest bestsellers, I will more often post book reviews that are interesting to me and hopefully you as well. While I may not always like a book, I still think it’s important to have a place where we can talk about any book, not just the ones that the bestseller lists want us to look at, or whatever marketing machine tries to send our way.

So please send me your comments and feedback. I want this to be a place to discuss and interact. Bring it on!

So, with all of that in mind….welcome to THE HURLEY EDITION!

Life…What A Pain In The Ass! – A review of Everything Hurts by Bill Scheft

When I first heard about this novel I was compelled to read it as I am in the same position as it’s protagonist, hurting with excruciating and unexplainable pain. So I was interested in finding out how a person (or a character!) may have dealt with this. What I found was someone who was able to use humor to season the constant pain that he felt. Constant pain is something most people don’t really understand until they actually experience it.
One of the things that I found particularly poignant was when the main character Phil Camp makes reference to baggage when he is writing as Marty Fleck. Phil has so much baggage, yet he seems as `everyman’ as can be. We all have baggage and it can manifest itself as many things within our bodies as well as our psyches, eventually resulting in some sort of pain. Such is the human condition and such is the pivot that Bill Scheft’s novel revolves around.
Phil’s creation, Marty Fleck, uses a tongue in cheek book to give advice to people. What he doesn’t realize, even until years later, is that his humor was more effective than anything that the so-called “real” self-help people could offer up. Humor really is the best medicine, and I should know, because I have read this book while suffering from excruciating pain in my hip that the doctor’s can’t explain. This book has served me better than all of the drugs that have been funneled down my throat for the last 8 months. Pain meds don’t get to the root of the problem, but Bill Scheft’s wry take on how we deal with our pain and repression and all of our subsequent baggage aims directly at the root and strikes it head on.
Phil’s half brother, Jim McManus, a blow hard right wing radio talk show host, is the perfect foil to Phil’s much more easy going and liberal way of thinking. Jim represents so much more than an irritating and misunderstanding family member. He represents the fact that we often hide behind ourselves and pretend to be something else on the surface, Jim refers to it as big-time wrestling, which is spot on. It’s a big show, the show of life. He is ultimately inspiring and a great source of unexpected support for Phil.
Suffering from this same situation in real life, I can’t think of a better endorsement than to say that this novel (just like the fictional book his main character writes) has helped me more than any alternative therapy or mainstream drug. From the outset, this book promised to be a funny read and it more than delivered in that department. What was unexpected was how touching and heartfelt the story turned out to be. What a wonderful surprise!
Whether or not we realize it, we’re all going through our own version of unexplained pain together, it’s called life. The best way to get through it is to laugh our way through it, and share it with others. Ultimately Phil see’s this as well and his evolvement from his cocoon of pain is heartening to see, whether or not you have disabling pain. It’s appropriate for us all. Humor really is the best medicine; this is a prescription I hope to refill time and time again. Bravo!



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