Witty indulgences

You’re just One F*cking Book Away from Brilliant Mood

October 24, 2016 • By 21 3 784

Have you ever been so absorbed in a book that it left you laughing out loud through heartrending tears? Shit, I wish reading glasses came with demister devices. I’ve hitherto read lots of books from numerous authors, nationalities and centuries, and in various genres or interests. Humorous books not always funny, thriller books offering new insight on a good nightmare’s sleep, historical books that are more effective than Ambien, and even erotic books benefiting both you and your spouse into some horizontal hula dancing. Thereby, I mostly read children’s books these days.

But then, among all those fine books, there’s this one, this Crème de la crème one that kept me awake past four in the morning for two nights in a row. It was simply too good to stop, like the best sex you’ve ever had (with a book), hands down. Now we’re talking. If you thought reading was not your thing, then this one will change your mind about books. (Or sex.)

Bucky F*cking Dent.

I read it six months ago and I still feel like dancing like Chandler Bing winning the Willy Wonka golden ticket. Let’s call it the good-for-the-mood, good-for-the-health dark chocolate indulgence effect. I mean, really. It’s good for your heart.

The author is David Duchovny. Yes, the actor. But he’s not just an act— Oh, now, come back! C’mon, it’s not like I said Chuck Norris. Don’t choke nor hiss; the guy has a poetic brain. (The former, that is.) And a beautiful, heartbreaking and witty one.

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Nor its title. Nor its writer. (Or do: BA in English literature from Princeton and MA in English literature from Yale. For the record.)

All I knew when it first came out was that Bucky F*cking Dent was about baseball, and I know very little about baseball. Okay, I know nothing about it; I totally got my copy solely because of the Duchovny factor. I assumed the story itself wouldn’t interest me very much, but heck, it was still David Fucking Duchovny. Wrong! Holy Cow, how wrong was I. Strike! I reached first base straight from page one and Duchovny pulled me in deeper and deeper as I kept on reading, hitting all my nerves one after the other. ‘Cause sure, there’s baseball, but there’s also first and foremost a deeply touching family story with a complicated and long-estranged father-and-son relationship at its heart.

Ted, the son, is “that quirky dude with a BA in English literature from Columbia who works as a peanut vendor in Yankee Stadium while he slaves away on the great American novel.” Upon learning that Marty, his grumpy father, is terminally ill with lung cancer, Ted forthwith packs up, gets in his “puke-green aging Toyota Corolla” and moves back to his childhood home. Struggling between his grief at his father’s waning and the long years of estrangement and resentment, Ted searches within himself to be a salt-of-the-earth good son in his father’s last days. As the two of them never talked about their feelings because there was never anyone to listen, they now try to make amends, catch up on lost time, understand and forgive.

The hilarious dialogue between Ted and Marty is earnestly awkward, unabashedly straightforward and offensively impolite in the sweetest way. Duchovny magnificently captures the intensity of feelings on myriad issues: wishes and dreams, hopes and terrors, loneliness and pain, redemption, guilt, regret, misunderstanding, fear. And love.

Bucky F*cking Dent is so, so fucking good that you won’t come out of its story in one piece; you’ll feel like your heart might literally break off like a stale baguette. Wait. Never mind. David Duchovny already wrote that. Dammit, I was almost on to something.

It’s a smart and incredible tightrope exercise that deftly straddles poignancy and hilarity as well as humble sobriety and drunken levity, adding in a patch of Caribbean blue sky (Duchovny’s words again) for good measure to celebrate the insanity in which we live. A quiet pause. Well, besides the choke ups and the guffaws. And what’s not to like? It’s all about love with equal parts sensitivity and humanity. It’s a vivid, knocking-your-socks-off firework of emotions. My seventh-grade crush’s mood ring looks ridiculously and gloriously faded in comparison.

I’m considering pulling off what my youngest son likes to call a necklace (but really resembles macaroni sans cheese on a wool string), and wear this book around my neck instead. Pure gold.

Near the end of the book, I suddenly found myself crying fit to burst, dissolving into heavy and wrenching weeps, and snuffing for fifteen minutes, battling to remember why again I didn’t have demister devices on my fucking glasses. No, no, but I’m fine. It’s just the first time I’ve been pulverized by a book is all. But I’m fine

After I finished Bucky F*cking Dent, I made my first long-distance call to my parents in three months. Just to say hi. Likewise, the book also made me look at my relationship with my own children in a whole new light as well. Damn, David Duchovny is skilled and talented (gifted even) when it comes to having a way with words. Bucky F*cking Dent: Leading You to the Shocking Revelation that You Don’t Actually Want to Murder Those Little Kiddos of Yours (at Least Not on a Daily Basis).

David Duchovny’s writing is blissfully magic. I wish the game could have lasted longer. This book has power. I don’t know how he did it. The man is an extraterrestrial. The heart’s normal reaction to this kind of jewel is to beat with emotions. (Or to explode, but usually the other thing.) They say you can’t buy happiness, but you can get this fucking book. And that’s pretty much the same thing.

THIS, on the other hand, is definitely NOT the same thing …

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