Monday, December 8, 2014

What About Never

What About Never, Is Never Good for You? My Life in Cartoons is, as one might expect, a funny book.  It is authored by Bob Mankoff who is a cartoonist for, and cartoon editor of, the New Yorker magazine.

The book is about half memoir and half examples of cartoons.  The cartoons are the better part, but the writing is witty as well.  He talks about his parents, start as a cartoonist, creation of the Cartoon Bank, and how to compete for the New Yorker cartoon contest.

I have a New Yorker cartoon-a day-calendar and every one in ten makes (or could make if there was enough room) the refrigerator.  One of my favorites is a picture of the grim reaper at a cocktail party speaking to an attractive woman.  The woman says to the reaper, "I must introduce you to my husband."  Another favorite is the cartoon from which the book derives its title.  A man is on the phone looking at his calendar and speaks into the receiver.  "Thursday is out." he says, "How about Never. does never work for you."  Apparently, the quip has been appropriated by various vendors.  The author illustrates this by including a reprint of an advertisement for a thong, with the "how about never, is never good for you" part written on it.

The author is appropriately self-effacing and I like that. And he really is funny as he describes the various stages of his professional, and sometimes, personal, life.   I recommend the book, but not if what you want is a conventional memoir. This is as much a collection of cartoons as anything else. The book will probably be fun even if all you do is read through the cartoons.

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