Date Published: September 22, 2015
Category: Nonfiction, Anecdotes, Comedian
If you compare this review to other things I have read and/or written about, it is a safe reaction to think that I have fallen off the deep end. Nonfiction biography type books are generally not given a second look whenever I browse in a bookstore. With that being said, how can it be that I am reviewing said genre of book? In full disclosure, I have a soft spot for Mr. Jim Gaffigan which made my personal opinion incredibly biased but I have attempted to be somewhat object here.
Jim Gaffigan is a comedian who I discovered around the age of 14. I even remember renting his Beyond the Pale special from Blockbuster because that was still a thing and apparently my parents let me watch anything. He is known for making jokes about/involving food which left me to believe that this book would not be anything special. I was pleasantly surprised even before I got past the first chapter. There were short witty sentences, unexpected family photos between chapters, and a lot of health information in a book generally about eating copious amounts of food. At times it felt like a restaurant guide giving me tips with all of the “food-lands” geography which was great.
It also made you re-think what you eat or why you feel the need to eat certain things with factors such as speed with fast food and slathering vegetables in ranch. Jim definitely hit the nail on the head when he said “Fast and easy is the American way.” (pg.19) He was speaking in reference to the gogurts his children drink and the tubes reminded me of something I encountered not too long ago. My boyfriend had brought me to this diner he had been talking about strictly for dessert. Now I’ve been to a few diners and never thought wow, they have some amazing desserts but we went anyway. The waitress came over and he ordered a chocolate cream pie shake which is exactly what it sounds like. At this diner they blend pies with ice cream in a shake that you can drink in under 10 minutes. Now I’m not going to say I didn’t eat it but it was an interesting connection brought to my mind with the image of drinking yogurt.
Although there were many “a-ha!” moments like this throughout the book, I found that you have to like Jim’s comedic voice in order to enjoy this book. If not, the little scenarios on food marketing get tedious and annoying. Basically if you don’t find his TV specials funny, you won’t enjoy this book which is why I gave it this rating. His comedic voice is very distinct in his food adventures and there were many times when I caught myself laughing out loud because I like this comedic style. I enjoy sarcastic takes on healthy food and a matter-of-fact way of looking at things like ice cream “I’ll toss the lid even before I start eating the pint, because I’m not a quitter.” (Gaffigan, 276)
The only downside when reading this book was that since I am so familiar with Jim’s comedy specials, I found that a lot of those jokes were repeated here sometimes verbatim. While I was still reading, I showed my boyfriend the Beyond the Pale special which contains the hot pocket, cake, delivery guy, and fish bit that are reiterated in the book. This is only a negative aspect because I am somewhat obsessed with him but it was something that had to be noted. Overall, I found the book to be very enjoyable. Jim takes food and not only makes it a universal pastime but he does it in a way that makes your cheeks hurt from laughing. I’m glad that Blogging for Books presented me with the opportunity to read this book because I picked up some tips on where to eat and know that I am not alone in my love of all things pizza. In an effort to encourage you to give this book a chance, I shall leave you with one of Jim’s parting lines “I hope your coffee is strong, your cheese is sharp, and your guacamole is chunky.” (335)
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.