The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure By Jack Handey


    Did not finish, so no rating.

    For the longest time I thought Jack Handey was a fictional front-porch philosopher made up by the writers at Saturday Night Live. But no, he's real, and he's written a novel. The novel is composed of brief Jack Handeyish thought bubbles, arranged as paragraphs and strung together in a rough sort of order. The novel purports to tell the story of a trip to Hawaii. But all it really is is a collection of one- and two-liners meant to make the reader chuckle. That reader did indeed chuckle over the first few paragraphs. Then he chuckled once per page. Then he tossed the book aside and went looking for something worthwhile to read. Entertainment, Humor Finally, a book that debunks the theory of Hawaii as a paradise. As noted historian Jack Handey correctly notes :Hawaii, land of a thousand nightmares, including pirates, murderous natives, Turtlemen, mutineers and the horrible stench of almost everything. Also attack pelicans, bat bites, and spider bites. The brochures never mention any of this.
    As well as not troubling us with a plot, Handey offers several helpful hints, such as how much scotch whisky to carry on a jungle trek ( spoiler alert; 4 bottles, in this case, Glenriddance, which I have been unable to find in Canada...or Scotland) and step by step instructions of how to cook a Turtleman!
    Handey's descriptions of the natives is impeccable She was like a deer,only a two-legged deer with a really nice ass.
    I am going to add a history/travel shelf to my bookcase, and devote more time to finding books like this. Entertainment, Humor One of the silliest, most joyfully goofy books I've ever read. I laughed out loud several times reading this (not on EVERY PAGE, as the lunatic Ian Frazier says in his pull quote on the front cover. You ok, Ian?), and was pleasantly surprised at how much enjoyed a book that only has the merest semblance of a plot.

    I love the dry, bold idiot of a main character Handey has created here (known only to us as Wrong Way Slurps, a name he made up for himself) and the completely brash way he treats his well-meaning companion Don. I loved how each section basically served as a kind of episode or sketch or something, as Slurps & Don barrel their way through a Honolulu that couldn't be further from the true one. There is very little realism here, and who cares. Realism is bullshit anyway.

    If you're a fan of Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett, you're gonna like this. It falls in the same category of bumbling doof stumbles from scenario to scenario, inexplicably avoiding death, making just about every single joke that could be made in the process. The whole ordeal here is ultimately kind of pointless, which in and of itself makes a joke about narrative structure that I thought was smarter than it appears to be.

    All that said, the lack of structure can get a little out of control at times, with Handey just kind of spinning off into whatever direction he feels like. I guess some deep part of me does cling to structure, because I am human and need to be told what to think and feel. That little bit of missing constraint may have brought this into being one of my favorite books of all time, but as is, it's just very good. I certainly hope Handey finds the time for more of these. Entertainment, Humor A word of warning – do not read this book while wearing a clay facial mask. You’ll just crack it up, rendering it useless and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.

    That said, DO read this book (preferably without any substance of any sort on your face of course). If you are like me – you loved Jack Handey’s ‘DEEP THOUGHTS’ on Saturday Night Live – sometime in the past (if you are like me, you don’t remember much before yesterday – in which case that is sad and you should probably see a doctor or eat omega fatty foods or something).

    This is Jack’s first novel. And he had me in the first few pages with the words; MUSCULAR ANGRY CLOWN.

    This book is classic Handey – and it makes no sense whatsoever. Seriously – it is quite senseless and you find yourself wondering if it takes place in an alternate universe ( I hope it does or I’m never going to Honolulu) or if you are just completely insane (something that’s always possible I guess.).

    I laughed so hard and constantly throughout this book, that I actually lost three pounds. I’m pretty sure I’m not kidding here. The book is filled with Handey’s classic ‘thoughts’ and a plot that will make you wonder how much acid you just took.

    I do feel the need to add another disclaimer here. This book is expensive. Probably the most expensive I’ve reviewed. For an ebook to be more than $11 is a bit of a travesty in my mind (I blame the publisher – not Handey). Make sure you read the sample and like it before you download. Or use your local library. I like libraries.

    I know, I’ve never given such a warning before. But I feel I owe it to you, my minions, to be open about this kind of thingy.

    Still – it’s a HILARIOUS book. And I do think, if you’re a Handey fan, you should read it.

    Leslie Langtry Entertainment, Humor 2.5, rounded up.

    The only novel (thank the g-ds!) by Handey of SNL's 'Deep Thoughts' fame, is, like that segment, built on a very thin premise, stretched to absurd lengths. I had heard good things about the book (and hey, Judd Apatow, George Saunders and Jimmy Fallon all blurbed it), but my main impetus for reading it was because I resided in the titular city for two years, and thought it might be a fun remembrance of those days. Alas, the Honolulu depicted here, purposely, bears no resemblance to the actual place. It's really quite silly, but once you get into the groove, some of the jokes land, and since it only take a couple of hours to read (huge font and white space abound), isn't a total waste. Entertainment, Humor

    Downright hilarious, delightfully absurd, and pleasingly nonsensical, THE STENCH OF HONOLULU is Jack Handey at his finest.

    It’s so good, it made me do my funny cowboy dance, and I wouldn’t say that in public if it weren’t absolutely true.

    Buy this book. Support Handey’s drinking habit. Have some laughs. Entertainment, Humor Dry. Incoherent. Hilarious. It's basically Deep Thoughts crammed into a flimsy plot. I love his stuff, but I could only take so much at a time due to dryness desensitization. Then I'd come back to it and it was hilarious again. So a 3.5 * rounded up. His tone is hysterical, and I could definitely see re-listening to this in the future. Entertainment, Humor When humor columnist Dave Barry wrote his first novel, he was caught whining, You mean you have to have characters AND a plot? Complain though he did, Mr. Barry actually managed to fulfill this challenge and write a pretty decent funny novel.

    Jack Handey, on the other hand, didn't appear to be in the mood to work quite that hard. I suppose this book has the scaffolding of a plot, and it is upon this scaffolding that Mr. Handey hangs his relentless 1-3 line jokes.

    I could forgive this lack of literary structure if Mr. Handey's jokes were actually funny. But in the dozen or so pages I read, I didn't find anything that made me crack a smile, let alone laugh. While the material may very well be original, it felt incredibly tired - cliched, trite, and just overall highly unpleasant. Though the book is so slight I could have finished it in under an hour, I couldn't bear to subject myself to it so I gave up early on.

    My husband tells me that Handey's Deep Thoughts is quite brilliant, so I may still seek that out at some point. But I can't recommend this one at all.
    Entertainment, Humor When you are reading a book by Jack Handey, and you come across a sentence such as: “The sun was like a blazing ball of fire in the sky,” you know you are witnessing genius.

    Because yes, the sun literally is a blazing ball of fire in the sky, so structuring the sentence as a metaphor is ironic. But the word “fire” has connotations of heat, and with “blazing” it’s an unbearable, oppressive heat. So. Despite the irony, the description is perfect. This is also ironic. And achievable only in the context of this being a Jack Handey novel.

    Art is all about consistency. Yes, The Stench of Honolulu is silly, but’s consistently silly. It’s unwavering, uncompromising. Anyone can make these jokes, but every paragraph, every sentence, for 165 pages? Only Jack Handey. I am not exaggerating: pure genius.

    Right now, I’m only on page 64, but this is rapidly becoming of my all-time favorite books. Reviews continues when I finish.

    [A few hours later] Okay all done. I was right—easily one of my all-time favorite books. I read it on my e-reader, but I tempted to go get the hard-back edition and keep it with me and read it over and over and over. I spoke about Art before. Let me bring it up once more: you know how people will see some piece of modern art, and say “I could have done that?”

    The usual reply is “but you didn't.” Well, let me be clear. I dare you to read The Stench of Honolulu and then say “I could have written that.” I guarantee you couldn't. Entertainment, Humor “When my friend Don suggested we go on a trip to the South Seas together, and offered to pay for the whole thing, I thought Fine, but what’s in it for me?”

    This is the opening line. It is comic genius, like every sentence in this extended comedy skit.

    This was absolutely ridiculous, absurd and full of crude and insanely creative humor. The audio is read by Jack Handy himself, which is clearly not his main talent, yet it is still enjoyable. The whole thing is total nonsense, in the best and worst tradition of dude humor. It reminds me of the hilarious and refreshingly ham-fisted story that one of my classmates wrote for a school competition in seventh grade, where the teacher read them out loud and we were all rolling on the floor. It was written by a boy not known for his writing, and full of boy boasts like “then I stopped the train with my knuckles” and suchlike. It was pure genius.

    The audiobook is a quick listen, but now I am considering buying it because when do you find a book whose every sentence is so perfectly crafted? (He apologized to the city of Honolulu in the afterword.) Entertainment, Humor

    The legendary Deep Thoughts and New Yorker humorist Jack Handey is back with his very first novel-a hilarious, absurd, far-flung adventure tale.

    The Stench of Honolulu

    Are you a fan of books in which famous tourist destinations are repurposed as unlivable hellholes for no particular reason? Read on!

    Jack Handey's exotic tale is full of laugh-out-loud twists and unforgettable characters whose names escape me right now. A reliably unreliable narrator and his friend, who is some other guy, need to get out of town. They have a taste for adventure, so they pay a visit to a relic of bygone days-a travel agent-and discover an old treasure map. She might have been a witch, by the way. Our heroes soon embark on a quest for the Golden Monkey, which takes them into the mysterious and stinky foreign land of Honolulu. There, they meet untold dangers, confront strange natives, kill and eat Turtle People, kill some other things and people, eat another thing, and discover the ruins of ancient civilizations.

    As our narrator says, The ruins were impressive. But like so many civilizations, they forgot the rule that might have saved them: Don't let vines grow all over you. The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure

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