You Want Fries with That: A White-Collar Burnout Experiences Life at Minimum Wage


The American Dream used to include a white picket fence, 2.2 kids, and a dog. In today's frantic world, it's . . . well, let's be honest-it's quite different. But what would happen if you did have the nerve to quit your white-collar job? Prioleau Alexander can tell you:He walked away from a lucrative career as an advertising executive, seeking a life +like that dude on Kung Fu.+ Over the next year he worked minimum-wage jobs as a pizza deliveryman, ice cream scooper, construction worker, ER tech, fast food jockey, and even cowboy on a Montana dude ranch. In YOU WANT FRIES WITH THAT?, Prioleau explores life at minimum wage and proves unequivocally that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
Book at publisher's website.

Book is also available at Megalomart.


I understand the need to re-assess where you life is going, but this smacks of "poor-me" syndrome. Trying out life on the rough side of the tracks just to check it out? Don't be ridiculous. As someone who worked multiple minimum wage jobs while in high school, then college, then grad school, I find this insulting. Don't imply there's something very zen about living at the bottom of the barrel. And for most of the people who do live on the minimum wage jobs, it's rarely a choice they get to make

My advice: when you're not sure if your white collar job is good enough, and contemplating being poor just for a 'change,' pour yourself a great big glass of suck-it-up-atine. Then get back to work.

Pulp already covered this topic better than I could.

In the blurb for the book it says "Prioleau explores life at minimum wage and proves unequivocally that the grass is not always greener on the other side." So there is a chance the author learned that hard work is hard.

The idea of low paying jobs being freeing has been bandied about in popular culture. Kevin Spacey in American Beauty finds happiness with his minimum wage job. I am sure there are numerous other instances in other movies. To jump back a hundred years "The Prince and the Pauper" by Twain works with the idea.

People work their whole lives in jobs that degrade, hurt and kill them for the chance to have a job like the one this wank left behind.

"Oh look at me! I'm so menial and ironic!"

Jerk. People aspire to have the employment and money to live comfortably and die on a clean mattress.


He must have been a barrel of laughs at the MickeyD's. I bet all the other guys on the clamshell grill asking him to retell the story about the time he got evian ...yes evian when he asked for Fiji water.

He didn't quit the advertising gig to work at minimum wage and contemplate his navel, he quit his job to write a book.

I bet the book sucks.

We have a bunch of librarians who are really mad at a book. Few odd things:
1) Many of you probably have not read it. So you rip on it from one blurb?
2) Some of you must have Masters degrees and work in libraries. Hence you are white collar. You seem awfully negatively disposed to other white collar workers.

Dude! Relax!

Who IS this mean-spirited bastard? We don't need to READ his book! There's no way it could be be good, unless it's been reviewed by a someone who CARES about the disadvantaged!
What's that? Pat Conroy reviewed it? The Prince of Tides, Pat Conroy? The guy with the biggest heart for the down-trodden in modern literature? And he said it was written with "compassion"?
Well... Pat Conroy must be a bastard, too! A BASTARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dear Mr. Alexander,

Thank you posting here. It's nice to have an author talk about or defend his book.

For the record: I do NOT think that no one should read your book. Not my place to give orders like that.

My comment was that you sounded like a jerk and a wank for slumming in name-tag and hair-net land.

Which I stand by.

But I hope that lots of people disagree with me and your book sells millions of copies.


p.s. No one here would burn a book, sir. Please.

And allow me to respond: Not only do you "sound" like a close-minded simpleton, you are one. Only a moron would insult another person about their views without even finding out what those views are.

This is blog for librarians? People surrounded by books expressing every sort of opinion and idea imaginable? And the best you can do is offer petty insults like jerk and wank? And opine that the book probably sucks?

Please, Chuck... marshall your forces and let's get this discussion going. I'd love to hear more opinions about my book from people who haven't read it.

Hi Prioleau,

I read your book when it was called Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. It was really good!

Yet another pithy insult from someone who hasn't read my book. Who will add the next insightful opinion to the discussion? And before someone digs too deep into their synaptic treasure trove of zingers, be foreward: My mother doesn't wear Army boots.
Okay, I'm ready...

Obviously, those who have not the courage to do, just sit back and hurl juvenile insults! I have meet a great many people like Chuck and Colleen who were too self absorbed in their own crushing intellect to be able to see anything good in the world. I think they call them 'Progressives'? They ascribe every bad intention to people who do the things they only dream of, but never get off their ass to actually do for themselves. It is always far easier to insult and bring people down than to pump them up. Enjoy your superior attitude all by your self at the bottom of humanity. I have read the book and enjoyed it thoroughly. It rings true to my own blue collar strivings, but hey I am not as brilliant as most of you librarian types. I'm just out here working hard to buy books, so I do not have the time to sit idol by the computer all day and dream up 3rd grade insults. Good Luck Mr. Alexander!

Pardon me Mr. Alexander but I have read your book. I am not a librarian but I love to read and I have one of those white collar jobs you put aside (because we all know "quitting" was never your intention, it was to write a boring book off the backs of lower income America). I worked as a cashier, daycare worker, waitress, and bartender to get the degree required to have this job because my parents could not afford to send any of their seven children to college on their minimum wage jobs. They did, however, give us all a sence of ourselves and a work ethic that would enable us to have what they did not. I don't see that value in your work. It reads more like a child of privledge playing games with the servant's kids and than proclaiming yourself one of them before you leave them in the slums and go home to your mcmansion. I found your humour pretty tepid and you only manage to skim the surface of the problems of minimum wage employment. You don’t bother to delve much into the real issues faced by the many people with full time jobs who are living below the poverty line in modern America, and the only solution you offer is the pursuit of higher education and a better job. That’s noble and all, but there is no discussion of the fact that somebody will always have to cook and serve the fast food or clean up the ER when people bleed all over the place, and those somebodies deserve a better quality of life. A good portion of each chapter is dedicated to the history of the product or service involved, but seriously, the question of who actually invented ice cream has nothing to do with the plight of the employee doing the scooping. There’s really no deeper meaning to be found in your book, because it’s a series of mildly amusing anecdotes and totally unfunny fat jokes cobbled together with Googled facts under the guise of wisdom. You sir should go back to advertising and kiss the ass of whomever decided to give you that job in the first place and then beat the ass of whomever told you to write this book.

For those of you interested, the comments above were written by my Number One fan, Ms. Sarah Larson. She does a thorough job of trashing my book and me personally in here review at Obviously, it wasn't enough for her to do just that review... she needs to copy and paste it into this blog. Among her more insightful comments are "... I want the first person who sees this guy to punch him in the face."
Better than her review are the comments that follow, among them, "Forget the face, let's give him a good punch in the taint."
I also liked, "Have not read the book, and I don't think I will. Alexander sounds like an asshat."
Then there was, "I hate this guy with such a passion and I'd never even heard of him or his book before reading this review."
Followed by, "I've got a cousin who didn't have a job until she was twenty-one. Sh'e consistently rude to people in the service industry, and has never had a day of actual, physical labor. She probably thinks this book is HI-LARIOUS! At her college graduation party, I drunkenly peed half a squirt in her red cup... Just kidding. I didn't do that... or did I?"
I must admit I get a kick out of all the insults regarding my lack of work ethic. Everyone here who's done something harded than join the Marines please raise their hand.
So... Sarah doesn't like my book. Roger. At least she read it. I guess I'll have to survive knowing Pat Conroy described it as "marvelous."

What is with authors who can't handle negative reviews? You, Deborah Anne MacGillivray, Caleb Carr, and Anne Rice need to get over yourselves.

Negative reviews are one thing but to have people troll the web looking for additional places to rip on a book is another matter. All the comments about physical attacks to the author are uncool.

So what does Pat Conroy think of your book?

We would ask you for a review but you have not read the book.

Everyone seems to counter the "fries" book with Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed.

Here is a critical review of that book and how Ehrenreich worked to keep herself poor.

The Myth of the Working Poor

My, my -- I was shocked -- shocked! -- when my fifth grader's teacher told the class, "penmanship won't count," but little did I imagine a pack (or is it 'gaggle'?) of librarians, for God's sake, are willing to offer close-minded comment on a book THEY'VE NEVER READ. Times change, I suppose.

It happens I read BOTH "Fries with That" AND "Nickel and Dimed"; and I majored in English at university and now practice law. But before all that I was an ironworker, a construction laborer, a newspaper delivery boy, a chicken-joint cashier and cook, and a half-dozen similar hard-work/early-hour jobs -- and including a few years in the Marines, myself. As you can see I can write a complete sentence. I read several books every week, and of course my work entails a couple hundred pages of text every day.

I thought Mr. Alexander and Ms. Ehrenreich simply brought different perspectives to similar subjects. I found Fries amusing and engaging; but then, I wasn't expecting a gritty exploration of low-income working and pay conditions. Mr. Alexander actually spoke very highly of many of the folks he encountered in his foray, while acknowledging the circumstances were hardly noteworthy themselves. I know I prided myself on a good job well done even at $4.50/hour, which was the first minimum-wage job I ever held.

Sure, now I sit around on my fat lazy a__ reading and writing, and occasionally look back longingly to simpler days, but would I willingly ditch fat fees for the chance to climb back up 230 foot steel to bring up a welder cable for six bucks an hour? No. Nevertheless there were good times, and there were funny people and funny incidents, and that is largely my recollection -- not my work-comp knee injury, for which I still bear the scar, or not being able to afford an alignment on my Volkswagon, or waking up on foreign shores with people shooting at me. I prefer to remember the humor, but I don't want to forget the horrors, either.

My oldest son wants a summer job. I could hire him myself, to file and run errands, and the like. But instead I've arranged a job at a local fast food place. He can work a minimum wage job himself -- those jobs will always be there -- and maybe get a little appreciation for life at the other end of the pay scale and working conditions. Maybe it'll motivate him to aspire to librarianhood (or whatever the practice may be called) in a nice, safe, clean, well-paying environment.

But hopefully he'll serve his hitch, too, first, so he can properly appreciate his dead-a__ed, lame white collar clerk job.

Which in point of fact is all I took away from either of those books; reminders of what it's like. Been there, done that, managed to make other choices as those opportunities arose. Doesn't make me any better than any of those folks who, in fact, we all depend on every day; only means I was able to make choices, and that is all.

Let me just observe also that every librarian who went to Mountain Warfare School is entitled to comment on Mr. Alexander's work ethic, and those who haven't, have no idea what they're talking about. (You'll all probably scream at me for that -- but remember, every single one of us once had a chance to join the Marines, and only a few ever did, and the screaming is simply a manifestation that you know what makes the men different from the boys, and have regrets.)

It's a good, fast, entertaining read. So what its not an angsty liberal Great American Novel. They can't all be, nor should they. Give it an actual read and maybe you'll find you liked it. If not, hey, how many hours have you already wasted reading dull books? Dickens makes me scream bloody murder he's so dull. At the least you'd then be actually qualified to comment. Seems to me meet and right that a librarian'd first read a book he/she set about trashing.

I read Sarah Larson's original review as well, and let me say, a girl's sensitivity to fat jokes tells me something important about the frame of mind of the reviewer.

And just so the water's clear: I am no particular fan of Pat Conroy, either.

Dear Mr. Alexander,

I did not write the anonymous comment posted at Mon, 05/05/2008 - 15:13. I obviously have no problem assocating my name with the review that I wrote, as my both my name and a link to my blog are very clearly posted with the original review, and my email is also public. I am very direct and admittedly don't generally bother to filter my opinions, but neither do I hide while expressing them.

For the record, I was trashing neither you nor your book in the review that I wrote, merely expressing my honest impression after having read the book. Such is, to my understanding, the primary purpose of a review. It's unfortunate that one who purports himself to be a humourist would appear to be allergic to both sarcasm and hyperbole. That's sad for you.

Sarah Larson

So how did Sarah find the discussion at LISNEWS.

Some options:
1) Somebody here contacted here
2) She runs searches to see links to her reviews
3) She is an LISNEWS reader

Anonymous speech is free speech. I also did not post the Mon, 05/05/2008 - 15:13 comment.

I don't know. Maybe it's because the website she writes for, Pajiba, posted a link to a blog they found where an author who was just reviewed on the site decided to rake her over the coals for writing an honest review? It was only posted this afternoon in their daily "Pajiba Love" section and the posting time seems to fit with Sarah writing the comment only today.

Frankly, the physical threat comments in the review and the comments were too much for me and part of why I didn't respond to the post. Though seeing the author decide to bash a reviewer without any proof of his accusations (of searching for opportunities to personally attack him and his work because she's an evil, evil person) is enough to stop me from even picking the book up. I highly doubt he'd be willing to call out a reviewer in the NY Times or National Book Review for not liking his book in the same way he called out an online writer.

Unfortunately, you cannot ram a backbone up a person's metaphorical posterior and expect it to graft. It's something they have to either ram up there themselves, or learn how to grow. The real problem with anonymity, as I see it, is abuse by whiners and snivellers who really have no requirement to resort to it. In China, a web journaler was imprisoned for sending an e-mail containing material extracted from a government document. The effete, right-wing snobs who say they fear for their jobs when they really fear their own freedom are pussies, but there are other good people who might try openly to do what is right by humanity and fall victim to treason in high places. Just look at the Valerie Plame Affair.

Anonymity is a tool, and a tool is not responsible for the uses to which it is put. It is not that anonymity is for pussies, it is that pussies are so quick to hide behind it.

There is nothing that cannot be found offensive by someone, somewhere.

I haven't read the book but I am a regular Pajiba reader. It seems Mr. Alexander is VERY upset by all negative reviews of his book, however, Pajiba's particular tagline IS "Scathing Reviews for Bitchy People". Ms. Larson did her job, and did it tremendously.

As to why Mr. Alexander is so vitriolic in defense of his manuscript, I cannot say. I can say, however, that when you put something in a public forum (e.g. a published work) negative reviews come with the territory. Relax, Mr. Alexander. If you need something a little more 'zen', I know a McDonald's which is hiring.

Regarding the question of how I was directed here, Robert's guess is correct. The link to this site was posted by the linkmaster of, the website for which I wrote the review of Mr. Alexander's book, in today's Pajiba Love column. That's how I found this discussion.

While I am indeed an evil, evil person, I do not spend my time searching for opportunities to attack anyone or their work. I also don't Google myself because I'm fairly certain all that would come up would be links to gossip sites discussing George Clooney's girlfriend. Besides, Googling oneself is pretty silly, and I'm not all that interesting anyway.

"Vanity search." It's called a vanity search. And it is not necessarily done out of vanity. For one thing, you can find comments that pussies hiding behind anonymity are making about you and posting on their web journals. And if you keep a web site or web journal yourself, you can find out who might be linking to it openly, and what they have to say about you and what you publish.

There is nothing that cannot be found offensive by someone, somewhere.

Full disclosure: I write regularly for Pajiba, without receiving any compensation, and I stay anonymous to protect my real job.

So, I hope you've come out of hiding from those scary threats to your face and your taint by people who wouldn't know you from Adam and couldn't give a used kleenex about your whereabouts or goings-on. Are you okay? You didn't wet yourself, did you?

You have seen, or at least heard about, these interweb thingies? Apparently so, you're here on a comment thread talking shit about the reviewer of your book. At any rate, you put your work out there, apparently for a profit, definitely for public consumption. She read it and didn't like it. She reviewed it on the internet, where the fur often flies and the coarse language rules. And your comeback is that Pat Conroy -- who isn't exactly Kurt Vonnegut, by the way -- liked your book?

I have to say, your response here is completely consistent with the image of you conjured by Sarah's review of your work: an overprivileged, arrogant, self-indulgent ... um, yeah, "asshat" was spot-on, actually. Congratulations on winning everyone over.

As for your claim that she trashed you "personally," what are the essential elements of your book? They appear to be your personal choices in certain activities you undertook and your personal reactions to and opinions about the results of those choices. In sum, you chose to put your personal nature out there in public view, then cried like a little bitch when someone commented negatively on what you offered up. What was she supposed to talk about in her review, when your whole premise comes from your shallow, nitwit opinions about people who actually have to do physical labor to subsist?

You probably should go back to your private executive washroom where you can hide from scrutiny. If you plan on writing any more books -- or venturing out on to the scary internet -- you should definitely develop a thicker skin and some smidge of a hint of a guess of your overall importance in the world. Jackass.

"I stay anonymous to protect my real job." Evidently, Brilliant Teddy didn't serve a day in the Marines, either. Way to have a pair, Ted!

"Congratulations on winning everyone over." What? Ted, have you ever written a cogent paragraph?

Mmmmm, and of course the pithy, 'anonymous' "shallow," "nitwit," and "jackass." Ted, my anonymously brave old buddy, I double-dare you to walk up to any US Marine and say any one of those words. Double-dare! Double-dare!

I've got one worse than jackass. Yes! Even worse! It's -- pansy. Ted and all his kind: mewling pansies. Jeez, Ted, didn't mean to remind you of middle-school gym class and all, but, hey, some folks simply run true to form and, well, there you are. (You know how I know this? Hint: I dared anybody who commented here to mention they served in the Marines, and guess what? Did Ted mention it? No! So of course he's a pansy. Plus the whole hiding behind the 'anonymous' thing, like pansies do. Girlie Man Alert!)

Watch. Anonymous Ted will post another pithy remark later. In little Ted's techno-world of monitor fantasy, he'll be gleefully checking back on this page relishing the infantile challenge of lashing out against genuine tough guys 'anonymously.' That's how the Teds of this world try to make up for the fact that they 'forgot' to enlist, or 'just couldn't follow orders very well,' or, 'my mommy wouldn't let me.' Gobble some Brie cheese and swig up some spendy vino, Ted, and get to work. Your audience awaits!

Let me guess: Ted -- let's see, white-collar, metrosexual, scared of girls and loud cars, pearbody, male pattern baldness Ted -- that Ted, you all know that Ted, or his legions of identical Tedlets -- Ted, the wise, the magnificent arbiter of opinion: Ted never read the book, either. Why should he? Hell, why would he? It's not on the Web, yet. Pretty good guesser, hey?

There's Ted, making all my points for me. Who's the jackass, again?

I'll leave aside for now any response to Sarah's petulant, sophistic, and wholly ineffective self-justification. I read her original review on "Snotty Bitchy Pseudoliterate Fat Girls Book Review Page." Pathos is hard to engage, that act sharing moral equivalency with taking candy from a baby.

But at least Sarah read the book, even if now she's on a self-appointed mission to trash the author for no discernible reason.

Man! That feels good! Bet the librarians never had two Marines taking on all comers on THIS page before! Reminds me of Pugil Stick by Pairs.

Ted, a pugil stick is a heavy broomhandle with a padded weight on each end, used similarly to a rifle for man-to-man close combat practice. Plus, being the Marines, used also to teach you to take a hit and keep on swinging. Plus, being the Marines, used also to teach you abject humility by having your ass beat into the ground by your opponent while the DI's mutter about how now "he's learned his lesson." I knew you wouldn't know, Ted, so I saved you the trouble of Googling it. You wouldn't like it very much; its really not for pansies. You might Google 'spirit of the bayonet,' though, for more insight.

READ THE BOOK. Then comment, Ted. I bet Mr. Alexander'd welcome your insights on THE BOOK rather than on him. The book doesn't suck, and from the few facts upon which you geniuses are basing judgments here, doesn't sound like the author does, either. He's simply insisting on a critical review of THE BOOK, not review of a review or review of reviews of the reviews. READ THE BLOODY BOOK and see what the hoopla here is actually about: I DID read the book and found it entertaining. And I ain't no slouch.

(PS - remember, watch for Ted's response! Guaranteed to make just as much sense! Plus a special guest: cheap shots at me, too! And I don't even have a dog in this hunt! See how the Tedlet mind works! Same Bat time, same Bat channel!)

Editor's note: Strictly speaking use of the exclamation point should be reserved for extraordinary points, and typically only in connection with quoted speech. However I had too damn much fun using it on this occasion.

So, were you or Mr. Alexander ever in the Marine Corps? I asked my close, personal friend Pat Conroy and he said he didn't know.



So I'm an English major pansy at a Big 10 university. I'm a fairly decent writer, I think, and have published a few reviews of music and film. I'm currently taking a class on the personal essay, which, by coincidence, fulfills an upper-level writing requirement that all students, be they English majors, pre-med students, or engineers must meet. The quality of the essays presented for workshopping varies — the English majors' are typically the highest quality, and the worst come from the one or two class members who admitted on the first day that they're just fulfilling their requirement and don't even like to read.

That said, Mr. Raymond's post is one of the least coherent pieces of writing that I have ever had the misfortune of skimming. In no way do his bitter, musclebound ramblings ever approach a cogent argument.

Just sayin'.

Both the for-and-against crowd, pipe down! You didn't like the book, ok you've made your argument and (some at the very least) are valid. Or you liked the book and found it to be funny, insightful, etc. Great glad you enjoyed the read. Both of you groups need to get off your high chairs and get back to your sides of the room if you can't discuss what you liked/disliked about it and why you agree or disagree. If you can't behave like the good, intelligent boys and girls you're capable of being then you'll all just have to be put on time out.

It's called "criticism." If you publish (ie, offer writing to the public), you should probably get used to it. And the review in question was really pretty tame, solicitation to face punching aside.

Someone at work left an AARP magazine in the ladies' room, and since I had a few minutes to spare, I read an article that has similar overtones to the book under discussion here. A middle aged man was laid off from his high paying white collar position and took a job at a Starbuck's in an 'ethnic' neighborhood and had an epiphany in the year's time he spent there. Well written, touching, even educational. All the things this book apparently isn't.

I'll pass, thanks.

This discussion is taking a wierd turn, and now an entirely new twist has been added: For some reason we're now bashing me because I can't handle a bad review. Where did this even come from? My initial objection on this site was that a bunch of morons were spewing hatred based on a book NO ONE had read. NO ONE. NOT ONE PERSON. I was called a wank and a jerk, and one genius opined, "I bet the boook sucks." All these opinions coming from "learned" folks who had NOT read my book.
Next, A NEW WRINKLE IS ADDED: Sarah Larson comes over to this blog and inserts her commentary on my book. I call her on it. She says it wasn't her... someone stole her review and pasted it here. Fine. So that means yet ANOTHER person is attacking a book they haven't read. A plagerizing fan of Sarah's writing.
NOW... regarding Sarah's review: On this blog she wrote-- "For the record, I was trashing neither you nor your book in the review that I wrote, merely expressing my honest impression after having read the book."
Really? IN HER REVIEW SHE WROTE: "I want the first person who sees this guy to punch him in the face." In the standards of "book reviewing," I think that comment offers up more than the average "bad review."
I could care less what people think of me. I want people to like my book, but not everyone will. But doesn't one need to READ the BOOK before proclaiming sucks?
Although I doubt anyone here will want to hear both sides of the story, I've posted a link to a "different" view of the book. Think of it as a counter-point in this very intellectual discussion:

Dear James Raymond,

So is being a douchebag a requisite to joining the Marines? Enquiring minds wish to know! I'm not even entirely sure why you keep bringing the Marines up. Is it because the author was a Marine? I ask honestly, as I've never even heard of the guy before I moseyed on over here to see what all the wank was about. If he was, your outrage is apparently based on the fact that people are--holy shit!--insulting a Marine. How dare they. However, rather than post an enlightened defense of the Marines and the author, you resort to telling people that if they haven't been a Marine, they are a pansy and a girlie-man.

I'm sorry, I thought we got over that in 3rd grade? I am divided on whether you are a troll, Mr. Alexander disguising himself, or just an outright idiot. Your condescending attitude only weakens your stance. In fact, I think I'm leaning towards troll and idiot, with a dash of arrogant teenager. Prove me wrong. Dare you! Dare you!

Dear Mr. Alexander,

I have not read your book. I have not read the review on Pajiba. I have no real intention of reading either, as a review of a book I've never heard of is not interesting to me and I couldn't care less about your opinions on low-end jobs, be they good or bad.

The fact of the matter is, in your comments here you come across as an egotistical jackass. Not everyone will like your book. Not everyone will like you. Otherwise, we'd all be clones, and where is the fun in that? Perhaps the review was overly pissy, Pajiba's known for that at times. Perhaps the comments were immature and/or out of line. You are still coming across as a little boy crying, 'They're being mean to me!' Your counter-arguments consist of sarcasm and statements that basically mean nobody else matters, because 'Pat Conroy likes my book!' That might mean more to me if I had any idea who Pat Conroy is.

I do understand how undue criticism can be hurtful and make you angry. I'm a writer myself, though unpublished as of yet. You simply need to let it just wash over you. People are going to be nasty; it's what people do. Whether you deserve it or not is now up to you. Either don't post anymore, or do it in a mature and reasonable manner. Otherwise no one will take you seriously.

I really, truly do not understand why the marine stuff is is even relevant.

So on to the book.

Last night, I decided to pick up Mr. Alexander's book and read it, since his principle assertion seems to be that NO ONE can make any comments unless they have read it.

Now, that I have - I wonder if perhaps it was impossible for me to read this book objectively. And I wondered how my beloved Colbert put his seal of approval on it. So I checked out Amazon to see how others were reviewing the book and with ONE EXCEPTION, every single person thought the book was 'amazing', 'insightful', and 'hilarious'. Every reviewer, save one, gave the book 4 and 5 stars.

The only detractor (one star) wrote this:

"Bizarre set of reviews; this ground was covered with better depth and more humor by Barbara Ehrenreich, and she wasn't even really trying to be funny. I've been around Amazon long enough to recognize a snow job, and I gotta say, this book ain't that great."

This piqued my curiosity further. When I checked out all of the reviewers, with one exception, they had only ever reviewed one book (this one) and nothing else. Out of 13 wow-it's-amazing reviews, only 1 person had ever reviewed any other book.

Frankly, I didn't find the book 'all that', but like I said, I may be extremely prejudiced in that regard already. I am concerned, however, that it looks like there is some manipulation going on. (The "snow job" the dissenting reviewer mentioned.)

It almost makes me consider that the 'anonymous' comments have been left by Mr. Alexander himself, or by people who love and care for him. I think that ESPECIALLY about the anonymous 'Sarah Larson' comment.

Anyway, Mr. Alexander, I read your book and didn't particularly care for it. I am, however, a big enough person to admit that some of it perhaps it has more to do with what I saw here, then the book itself.

If one is saying "I don't care" then it's "couldn't care less". Man, that always bugs me.

That's all I've got to say.

I was going to write a comment, but I asked Pat Conroy what he thought of it first, and he said it sucked, so I decided not to submit it. Instead, I decided to go out and join the Marines, because apparently that's the only way I can ascend into manhood.

It's unfortunate that Mr. Conroy thought your comment sucked.

Oh, did you mean something else?

I'm giving "Chuck" the nod for Funniest So Far. But this one's close.

I offered my opinion above, and I'll stick by it, although I didn't offer an opinion on the book itself, well except to say that I bet it sucks.

Now that I have asked Inkwood books to get me a copy I'll find out. I could be right, I could be wrong. Not really important.

However Mr. Alexander has sold another book and through an independent bookseller.

I'm not going to post my review of the book after I read it because who could possibly care (or case less)?

To the foregoing gentleman:

I care, for whatever that's worth. An honest willingness to get the true facts represents a moral stance I respect. I think all Mr. Alexander has been seeking is critical comment of a book actually read by a reviewer -- or an ordinary Joe or Jane, or a skilled writer, or a bored executive, or in fact any real human being not intent on grinding an axe.

I'd be very curious to see whether your opinion does, or perhaps does not, parallel my own given above. Even though I've made fun, above, of several contributors here, you'll note I have not castigated anybody who actually read the book and gave an honest, non-politically motivated opinion. It's just a book, and presumably the author just another writer, and perhaps he'd really like some genuine insight into how his brainchild is received. That's all I tried to relay of my impressions of the book, different from my impressions of the reviews. A fair shot deserves a fair hearing - which seems to me also at least a part of the message this author is getting across in his book.

On a certain level I hope to hear that you disagree with my take on the actual book. I suspect there's always room for improvement with any writer, and am personally willing to be challenged in my own views. That way lies growth. I know you're busy, but if you've taken the time to read the text -- I think you'll enjoy it, but I may be wrong -- please take another short moment to let us know your thoughts.

Many thanks to mdoneil for enabling me to now bid you all farewell. He has agreed to read the book. He even said "I could be right, I could be wrong." If you will read my posts from the top down, that has remained the only thing I've focused on: Read the book. If you hate it, that's cool. You now have an informed basis on which to say so.
Ya'll be good to each other. This sounds like a really fun crowd to hang with, and I'm going to miss you all. Especially you, Chuck. And good luck with that getting published thing.

Mr. Alexander, you are truly noble. To think! An author, fighting his way simply to get his book read . . . Who thought we would ever see this day? I'm just happy for you that you succeeded in what you set out to do; that is, get one random commenter on one random blog to read your book in the hopes that he might change his aforementioned opinion that it is "probably bad." You keep fighting the good fight!

You guys take yourselves waaayyy to seriously. It's just a book. It's also funny. Most of us have been there.........working some dead-end job and dealing with idiots. Sometimes the idiots are the customers.....other times the idiot is your boss (the assistant to the assistant night manager). I, too, was a Marine. Once I took a second job as a security guard with another Marine buddy. On my first night at my "post" a supervisor stopped by. He actually had the title of "Captain". He made 40 cents an hour more than me (or put another way...40 cents more than minimum wage) and had been with the firm about 3 months longer....but he was a "Captain". He shows up and tells us we are to salute him. We were as squared away security guards as you have ever seen and he stands before us in a uniform he had slept in and apparently used as a bib while eating. He had a slick down comb over.... a tie that was about a foot too short...and black high top sneakers. Honest to God....we laughed so hard I thought we would lose consciousness. He was the idiot.

Then "El Capitano" decided he must separate the 2 Marines. He assigns me to a brand new gated community (Way before they were all the rage). I'm even issued an old converted squad car complete with flashing lights to protect the neighborhood (no weapon mind you). The squad car smells like a bonfire and has no discernable seat on the passenger side. Apparently the guy I replaced got out of the car one night but left a high powered spotlight face down on the leather seat. No more leather seat. first night there I have no clue what I'm suppose to do other than patrol the hood and watch for suspicious activity. About 4:30am I observe a small hatchback come screaming through the gate and barreling up and down every street. I immediately go all Barney Fife and give chase.....lights blazing. As I catch up to the offender he slows down to about 20 mph but wont pull over. We go up and down about 5 streets and I start realizing I look like a fool. So I abort the mission and go back near the front gate and park. About a half hour later the guy pulls right up to me and is laughing his ass off. He hands me the morning paper says all the new guys chase the paperboy. This time I was the idiot.

Get over it. Read the book and allow yourself to smile once in awhile. No need to need to start a class war.

Funny stuff happens in deadend jobs.....just like it happens in big corporations. Ever had a CEO remind you of a Dilbert strip?

Sometimes its best to just laugh.

The guy's noble for trolling various forums and sites that have mentioned him in a less than favorable light and then castigating his critic? Of course he's pleased if someone agrees to buy and read his book, that's another dollar in his pocket. Why in the world would that impress you so much you'd be inspired to kowtow to his 'nobility'?

As for "James Raymond"... I don't even recall you reviewing the book but I do recall you going on and on about yourself and your sterling military background. I can't think of many, no scratch that, ANY reviewers spending more time detailing their personal background than discussing the topic in hand. You might consider starting your own blog: all you, all the time. I'm sure you're have an avid audience of one.

Whether self-published or not, authors are having to do more and more these days to sell books (not to mention bookmarks). Publishers can't afford to do much more than publish and distribute these days. No matter your opinion of the book, you've got to admit that this particular author got a few extra people on LISNews to buy the book...n'est-ce-pas?

I sat in a bookstore and polished it off in one evening. Just because he demanded that people 'read' his book before they could comment, doesn't mean one ACTUALLY has to buy it.

My I-don't-think-it's-all-that review is based off the fact that I DIDN'T pay to read it. Believe me, I buy plenty (oh, god, plenty) of books, but that wasn't one of them. If I had, I probably would have been more than a little annoyed at the content.

So you can take your smug all-I-wanted-was-for-people-to-read-my-book attitude with you. I read it. I certainly didn't give you any money to do so.

And now that I know where the following came from "I must admit I get a kick out of all the insults regarding my lack of work ethic. Everyone here who's done something harded than join the Marines please raise their hand." I DO think you are a jerk.

You raise YOUR hand if you did anything harder than raise your little brother in an alcoholic ABUSIVE home, working from the age of 14 and signing those paychecks over to your father so you could at least have a roof over your head and food to eat while he beat you, foster care, put yourself though school getting a BA while working FULL-TIME at night at one of those vaunted minimum wage positions, then put HIM through school all while maintaining a positive outlook on your life???

I am not denegrating the Marines but GEEZ. At least you CHOSE to do that (unless you were drafted in Vietnam, which I then retract it). Don't think that being a Marine is the best and only way to show people that you went through hell and perservered.


I am a librarian and I have no problem with people borrowing books from the library, but I have little respect for people who read entire books in the bookstore.

I patronize a small independent bookstore much more frequently than a chain or online store, however a chain store with chairs and tables is still a bookstore, not a library. If you want to browse and read a few pages that is great, if you are going to read the entire book....well that is as close to stealing you can get without actually walking out of the store with it.

I ordered my copy from my local store - I forgot to pick it up today, but they put a copy aside for me. I'll get it tomorrow - going to the bookstore is always a nice way to spend my lunch hour. I paid more than the chains or online, in fact I will pay the cover price plus sales tax.

There are any of reasons for this:
- I like my local store, it employs nice people I like. They usually have cookies and coffee for free. A big pot of coffee, not some fancy overpriced whipped crapochino in a twenty ounce cup (If I said 20 in Italian I would be violating a trademark)

- I pay sales tax so I don't have to figure it out and remit it to my state on my own because online stores don't charge sales tax to Florida.

- I am actually buying the book and not stealing intellectual property by reading it by not paying for it.

- When I am done I can give the book to the local PL where I was a librarian. I checked and the closest copy is hundreds of miles away and there are holds on the book already at the local PL.

I am not made of money, but I think this is money well spent, even if I don't care for the book.

If I spend the money, and time reading the book and I don't care for it what have I lost? 25 bucks? No not really, because I helped pay the electric bill at the bookstore, gave a few nickles to an author for his work, paid a bit of tax to the state for its good works (or waste of the day) and then passed the book along to the library - the acceptable place to read books for free. I think I came out ahead, and I don't think I am nearly as bitter as you.

This thread was amazing. I've never known so many angry people. Birdie and I seldom agree, but I certainly can't agree with some of the vile comments here.

If you want it after I am done, the Palm Harbor Library will have it.

N.B. I was never a Marine, but I live near a Marina.

You buy from independent bookstores. You are my hero.