One of them is a bestselling Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist. The other is a winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor. Together, they form the League of Comic Justice, battling evildoers in the name of . . . Okay, we made that line up. What they do form is a writing team of pure comic genius, and they will have you laughing like idiots.
Philip Horkman is a happy man-the owner of a pet store called The Wine Shop, and on Sundays a referee for kids’ soccer. Jeffrey Peckerman is the sole sane person in a world filled with goddamned jerks and morons, and he’s having a really bad day. The two of them are about to collide in a swiftly escalating series of events that will send them running for their lives, pursued by the police, soldiers, terrorists, subversives, bears, and a man dressed as Chuck E. Cheese.
Lunatics must’ve been a whole lot of fun to write, and just as fun to read–if you like fart jokes and forensic plumbing. It’s the unexpected adventure of two douchebags, one more than the other, who meet at an AYSO girls soccer match and end up tangled in a mess that involves Donald Trump, a terrorist in a Chuck E. Cheese suit, being naked on cruise ship, eating quesadilla de harina de yuca rellena con camarones y queso (I looked it up on Google, it looks delectable despite its extremely long name), and peeing on Sarah Palin. And there are also bears–two of them. And yes, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds. A fun read for anyone who loves Jackass, The Hangover, or a douchebags doing ridiculous things. Who cares about unlikable characters (you don’t know what’s a douchebag until you’ve met Jeffery Peckerman) and plot when you are too busy laughing?
However, the humor didn’t work for me. I found the excessive farting (and pooping) just disgusting. I admit to smiling a few times near the end of the novel, but not as funny as I hoped it would be. It’s just not my kind of humor. You have to be prepared for a lot of swearing, racist jokes–and pure stupidity. I was wincing at the poor, racist jokes when the characters were in China, perhaps because I’m Chinese. It felt like it was the kind of joke where drunk people tell and immediately start laughing like a mentally-challenged seal while I sit dumbfounded with a look that says “how..how in the world is that even funny?” I personally don’t mind racist jokes, but vulgar language isn’t my thing. Adding swearing to every sentence isn’t the magic formula to making stuff funny, I need a bit of wit throw in. Or maybe I just don’t get it. There was also no “plot,” just a story of two guys getting whisked off to one adventure after another with their extraordinary good luck. And maybe that’s what makes Lunatics special; it’s a product from two humorists with a funny imagination, writing as their twisted muse guides them without the need to get analytical. I had no problem finishing the book, but I doubt I will remember the story after a week.