Monday, October 09, 2006

Wake Up, Sir!

by Jonathan Ames
Alan Blair is a sad alcoholic living with his aunt and uncle in New Jersey. Then again, he's a witty young man, a published novelist with an unbelievably efficient butler named Jeeves. When his aunt and uncle insist that he returns to rehab, he has a better idea: an artists' colony in Saratoga Springs, where he can get down to finally finishing his second novel. He and Jeeves hit the road, falling into various misadventures along the way. Part of what I loved about Alan was the way his education and erudition served him so poorly in his dirty, real-world settings. In this respect, the character brought to mind Ignatius Reilly of A Confederacy of Dunces. Both characters seem to live in denial of the real world, floating somewhere above it in their minds, and below it in the minds of everyone else. Jeeves is obviously too good to be true, but his unflappable exchanges with Alan made me laugh out loud. Wake Up, Sir! bounces around on the sheer joy and pain of never quite fitting in, wherever you go, leaving the world a wonderful, horrible adventure.

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