Everything Hurts by Bill Sheft (Book Review #2)


hurts1Reviewed by Teri Davis

“Let’s get something straight. Phil Camp had not set out to become a fraud, or, as it turned out, to prevent himself from perpetuating the fraud that he became. That’s just what happened.”

Phil Camp desperately needed to pay-off his ex-wife. So, what is a simple way to acquire that much money? Write a book. Yes, that worked perfectly, even though he used the pen name of Marty Fleck. Yes, everything worked out perfectly except that the book was such a success that it evolved into a bi-weekly syndicated newspaper column written by Marty Fleck.

It has to be difficult to become someone else twice-a-week. What Phil didn’t plan on was that this fictional existence lasted for about eight years.

Added to that, his own brother became a radio personality at the time. Petty jealousies aside, it seemed as if the brother enjoyed ripping apart every column the newspaper had printed written by the fictional Marty Fleck to his growing audience of listeners. This wasn’t quite the life that Phil would have chosen for himself.

Then the pain began. It only happened when he walked, ran, turned over, sprawled out, or felt stress. Sometimes it lasted for weeks and then would disappear and create a sense of well-being again only to reappear at that most inconvenient times.

Anyone looking at possible surgery can sympathize with the need to search for a possible miracle such as a particular philosophy in a self-help book on managing pain called, THE POWER OF “OW”. The book came complete with even telephone support and visits with the author. You just have to believe and if your pain reappears, you are doubting your beliefs and need to refocus yourself. EVERYTHING HURTS is Phil’s journey through the pain.

The characters were well-developed and realistic. The pacing was too slow for my tastes in the first half of the book. To me, I don’t enjoy even reading about constant pain. I much preferred the second half where there was a glimmer of hope in Phil’s depressing life. Dry humor though, made the book readable and actually, enjoyable. Also, the ironic turns of events made the book almost seem autobiographical.

Bill Scheft is the writer of the novels, THE RINGER and TIME WON’T LET ME which won the 2006 Thurber Prize for American Humor. He is also a stand-up comic, a columnist and a television writer. He lives in Manhattan where he is the lead monologue writer for David Letterman.

Dry humor though, made the book readable and actually, enjoyable. Also, the ironic turns of events made the book almost seem autobiographical.



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