Review: Going Postal

Going Postal by Stephan Jaramillo, ISBN: 0-425-15768-7

Perhaps it's my living in the bay area that's turned absurdist slacker novels into books that maybe hit a little too close to home. As an example of the genre, this is a good one. Humor, redemption, something resembling a plot, although it suffers from the over-characterized aspects common to much of modern fiction.

Steve Reeves, no relation to "the actor who portrayed Hercules in these cheesy Italian movies in the sixties", lives with his history degree (the first college degree in his family) in a crash pad in Berkely, selling bagels, hanging out with his friends, and wondering when he'll be drawn like the men in his family have, into becoming a letter carrier.

From there he thinks it's a short slide to a massacre of his supervisor and assorted coworkers and patrons after something snaps.

Alas the book doesn't hold up to its very strong start. It's got some cute lines, but overall it just seems to revel in the pointless wanting without effort that's common to so many modern first novels. Fortunately, this one does end "up", and in a way that nicely ties some loose ends together, but that doesn't make up for the slow unmotivated center.

Good airplane fair, and go out of your way to read the caveat at the beginning, but unless you really get off on Douglas Coupland novels it's probably not one to stack high on the regular reading list.

Monday, October 26th, 1998