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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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Review: To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour: A Novel - Joshua Ferris

Dr. Paul O'Rourke, DDS, is one of those characters you can't help but love to hate. And hate to love. He is such a curmudgeon. When O'Rourke is not busy making feeble attempts at normal conversation or getting lost in thoughts while seeing a patient, he is often enveloped in the most hilarious of rants about very important matters, such as emoticons and hand lotion. O'Rourke is a very interesting person to observe as his psychosis is fascinating and his contradictory views of various subjects are irritatingly entertaining. Add to plot the fact that someone wants to steal the identity of O'Rourke and you've got a very engaging read.


To Rise Again at a Decent Hour got off to a surprisingly good start. With the humor and depth of O'Rourke's character and the intrigue of who is stealing his identity and why, this book was so much fun. And then... it wasn't. If you regularly read my reviews, you know the theme in the last few weeks: a book starts with so much potential, then somewhere along the way it becomes something else completely different (ie, The Bone Clocks, Your Face in Mine). When I mentioned this to my wife (“mentioned” may be better substituted by “ranted in an O'Rourke fashion”), she said she believed Attention Deficit Disorder was the culprit. Maybe. But such a diagnosis seems to me mild for someone who takes a hilarious and intriguing book and makes it convoluted and tiresome. For all of O'Rourke's disdain for religion, the second half of To Rise Again at a Decent Hour becomes about nothing but religion (with a sprinkling of Red Sox baseball throughout).


Would I recommend To Rise Again at a Decent Hour? For those who love character development or a wonderfully drawn character, yes. Fortunately character is important to me, so I liked the book a little more than some. For those who like humor? Maybe. It certainly is populated with its funny moments, but the second half definitely drags. For users of hand lotion? Spread it on thick and turn the pages with care. For everyone else? Probably not. Even though the idea of the plot is interesting, I don't think it's developed enough to keep most people's attention. Not only that, but is it really supposed to make sense? I'm still not clear on why those who stole O'Rourke's identity did so. It seems other more logical options could have presented themselves.


Then again, I have to consider the improvement of my own dental hygiene since reading this book. Would I recommend To Rise Again at a Decent Hour? Absolutely. And I've a great big emoticon with huge pearly whites to back me up.


Ferris Smiley