One of the first book reviews I ever published was for DAVE BARRY TURNS FIFTY back in the day before Windows Millennium. Early on in that one, the former Pulitzer Prize winner wrote, “Come, fellow boomer. Take my hand and let us travel together on a voyage of exploration into our very favorite topic, which is us.” “We” are still our favorite topic, and it’s satisfying to report that age has done nothing to mellow his off-beat sense of humor. Except that he probably knocks work off a bit earlier to take advantage of the early bird specials in his native Florida.
He might have a few more gray hairs and an extra family or two that weren’t there in 1998. But protestations to the contrary not withstanding, Barry has matured, dragging his fans along with him.
Is this a kinder, gentler Barry than we’re used to, based on former titles such as DAVE BARRY HITS BELOW THE BELTWAY and DAVE BARRY IS NOT TAKING THIS SITTING DOWN, among his twenty-something books? Perhaps. Advanced age has given him a host of new topics to carp about as he helps us cope with whatever comes beyond Generation X technology, as well as a spot-on take on teenage vampire literature, the (r)evoution of male/female relationships, and the amazing ability of 24’s Jack Bauer to refrain from visiting a restroom for eight years.
On a personal note, we discover his true feelings about attending his young daughter’s dance recital and his son’s wedding --- “true” being a relative term that changes depending on whether any of his current and/or former spouses are looking over his shoulder as he composes his essays. “If you ask any dad if fatherhood is worth it, he will immediately answer yes. Why? Because his wife might be listening.”
On an uncharacteristically serious note, he uses his wit to extol the virtues of getting a colonoscopy, a topic that was way off his map until one of his brothers tested positive for colon cancer. He also discusses his vasectomy, but in a much more Barryan manner (I dare anyone to look at a bag of frozen peas the same way again). In fact, such procedures allow him to further opine on the whole health care industry in light of the Obama administration’s recent goals, as well as the diminishing newspaper industry, which he had the foresight to leave several years ago. Insider information, I guess.
The former Pulitzer Prize winner --- now a feisty 62 --- is the Peter Pan for the boomer generation. He won’t grow up any more than is absolutely necessary, which in his case means not at all.
Now there’s a role model.
Reviewed by Ron Kaplan on May 4, 2010
I'll Mature When I'm Dead: Dave Barry's Amazing Tales of Adulthood