Publication date: April 2022
Category: Humorous American literature, political fiction, fiction satire
Review, short version: Four out of four skunks.
Review, long version:
I’m not opposed to profanity, when used judiciously.
Sometimes profanity can perfectly express an emotion.
Sometimes profanity can be funny.
But that’s when profanity is used…
In Grant Ginder’s Let’s Not Do That Again the profanity starts early, is overused and quickly becomes boring.
It brings to mind the saying,
The habitual use of profanity is not progressive, just unimaginative.
A few early examples from the book:
Page 7: “fuck”
Page 8: “fucking,” “hell,” “shit”
Page 9: “Goddamn it”
Page 12: “assholes,” “jerk-offs,” “fucking”
We get a bit of a reprieve, and then…
Page 28: “fucking”
Page 29: “fuck”
Page 30: “Goddamn it,” “fucking”
Page 34: “fuck,” “fuck”
Page 36: “fuck”
Page 37: “shit”
Page 39: “fuck,” “fucking,” “shit,” “son of a bitch,” “fucking”
Page 40: “fucking”
Page 41: “fucking,” “fucking”
Page 43: “shit”
Page 44: “fucking”
Sometimes the profanity is used in combination with other words, such as “New York Fucking City” and “Patty Fucking Hearst,” which is a variation, but not a particularly creative one.
Profanity is the effort of a feeble brain to express itself forcibly.
So, what is Ginder’s book about?
His website says the book is:
“…a poignant, funny, and slyly beguiling novel which proves that, like democracy, family is a messy and fragile thing…”
“Smart, funny and tear-jerking, Let’s Not Do That Again shows that family, like politics, can hurt like a mother.”
So, another (yawn) dysfunctional family. Add in politics (yawn), so they’re even more dysfunctional.
But still, I could go for “funny” and “smart.” And “tear-jerking” can be good.
Those qualities are all good – if they’re not lost in an incessant sludge of profanity.
Profanity is the last refuge of the truly ignorant.
I stopped listing the profanities above after page 44 because that’s where I stopped reading. And that was more than enough.
It appears that many read Ginder’s book and thought it was great, like the raves quoted on Amazon from reviewers at publications I respect including Publishers Weekly, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.
In fact, the Washington Post was one of a number of raves that compared Let’s Not Do That Again to Veep, a TV show that ran for seven seasons from 2012-2019.
I did a blog post about Veep in 2019, in which I also lamented its excessive use of profanity – “That just tickles my twat!” was one of many examples I cited – so yes, I can see the comparison.
If I’ve come off sounding like a major killjoy, wet blanket and all-around prude – so be it.
And guess what? I don’t care.
Life is too short to waste my time on books like Ginder’s that show such a lack of skill, style, and command of our wonderful language.
And such a lack of respect for his readers.