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The Late George Apley
The Late George Apley
Author: John P. Marquand
ISBN: 194792
Publication Date: 1963
Pages: 402

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Publisher: Time Incorporated
Book Type: Paperback
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Biography of a Crashing Bore
The author takes a semi-epistolary approach in this fictional biography of a prudish, self-centered, bore of an elitist Bostonian. The cover advertises A witty, satirical novel but the ridicule seems to be at the expense of the reader. Only a pedant, or editor, who has made a blunder could see humor is this book, or, for that matter, any redeeming social value. For me, this was an exercise in mental flagellation. For many years I have had difficulty sleeping. But this book is so tedious that after a mere 50 pages I wandered off to dreamland. Upon waking I dismissed the Serta sheepI had to wake them firstand trashed my Henry James novels. I tried again and by 100 pages was comatose. Possibly it could become an audio book for those with a sleep disorder. But then, how would the reader stay awake. Celebrities step aside! The solution to this Catch 22 is to have it read by a pedagogue. A highlight so far is that George seems to have been the terror of elementary education. He sissels, not whistles: whistling being decidedly against the rules. To compound his infraction he writes a doggerel about his French teacher that gets the poor soul dismissed. WoW! This guy isnt even close to Penrod let alone Denis (the menace) or Calvin (Bill Watersons creation). After being roused from my coma, I try again. Using a cattle prod every now and then I get a tad past page 100 to find George, now a lawyer (how irksome can you get) presenting to society his paper titled Jonas Good and Cow corner. I suppose that this is the epitome of satire. And so it goes. Oops! Maybe that should be a Vonnegut quote. Too bad that he wasnt a Walter Mitty type. George seems to have saved every letter that he and everyone in his extended family ever wrote. Why wasnt he a politician? He has all of the qualities. We arent told that he ever accomplished anything as a lawyer. And so he was born, lived, and died having spawned possibly another generation of crashing bores. So much for the Pulitzer Prize. As I have a sort of sadomasochistic tendency, I think that I shall tackle Henry James The Bostonians next. But first I shall lay in a supply of double espresso coffee. Just kidding again. Remember I trashed the book.