Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I, Funny by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

Jamie Grimm has a plan: to become the world’s greatest standup comedian: 

Do zombies eat doughnuts with their fingers? 

No, they usually eat their fingers separately. 

Jaime’s funny, and it’s not a bad plan, except he has a huge case of stage fright. Like on stage, he forgets everything he wants to say. Every. Single. Thing. 

Offstage, Jaime’s life is full of jokes, his own and ones from the famous comics he’s read all about. But not everything about his life is funny. He’s living in a new town, trapped living with his aunt, uncle and cousin Stevie, who just happens to be the school bully. The same bully who is out to make Jamie’s life miserable.

There’s a lot more that Jamie has to navigate in this book packed with jokes, including The Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic contest, a girl he likes that might just like him back, a yo-yo champion uncle who runs a diner in his new Long Island town, and his three best friends.

What’s really fascinating about “I Funny” is that one of the main characters is disabled. And yet, that’s not what the book is about. And at the same time, it kind of is. Because we really get to know this character as a character, beyond their wheelchair. And that’s a great thing. 

Also, Jamie learns that there are different kinds of comedy, and there’s price to pay for jokes at someone else’s expense.

But the best moment is how the book ends - it really grabbed me, and for a story that was all about the yucks, it had a surprising emotional depth. Maybe that’s why the two famous actor masks are of comedy and tragedy, because they’re two sides of the human condition. Likewise, they’re two sides of "I Funny." But in this book, the comedy side wins (and so do readers!)

This review comes to Guys Lit Wire from our friend Lee Wind. Read more of his reviews at his website.

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