Publisher: Penguin Audio, 2012 (7 hours)
Genre: Comedic Fiction
My Rating: C
Lunatics is the story of two guys, both family men, who live average lives in New Jersey. Phillip Horkman is a happy guy who owns a pet store (called The Wine Shop?). He’s the kind of guy who says “pardon my language” for fairly nice, simple words. He also referees kid’s soccer games in his spare time.
Jeffrey Peckerman is a “forensic plumber” who has probably been a jerk his whole life. He’s a bigot who believes his problems are always someone else’s fault. Everything comes screaming out of his foul mouth all the time.
These two men met at a soccer game. While Phillip is referreeing, he calls Jeffrey’s daughter “off sides.” That call nullifies a winning score. Jeffrey, of course, screams his invectives immediately and during the after-game celebration. They are separated by their families, but the relationship doesn’t end there.
When Jeffrey accidently enters Phillip’s pet store, steals a rare lemur and runs over Phillips foot with his car, the crazy events are just beginning. Soon they are on the run for attempting to blow up a bridge and shooting down a police helicopter. The two are considered part of an terrorist network bent on destroying the free world. They excape via a nude, make that a clothing optional cruise ship, a couple of people are swept overboard and land on an island, and . . . Lord, that’s just the first two CDs. I won’t spoil the rest of the audiobook for you. Needless to say, it just keeps going at a fast pace.
I expected this audiobook to be funny. After all, Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist and Alan Zweilbel is the winner of a Thurber Prize for American humor. And it was funny, just not over-the-top funny. I was blown away by the first part of the story. The two characters are so normal but yet so outrageous that they fascinated me. But then it began to seem a bit silly and for me it fell down about half-way through.
The story is told from first Phillip’s perspective and then Jeffrey’s. They alternate chapters and the authors take turns reading the story. They did that well. They’re a good combination.
I should warn you that the language is X-rated. It’s a part of the story and how I’m sure these guys talk. But I mention it in case you might want to play the CDs in the car with children present. There also seems to be an unusual amount of what’s known as scatological humor. (That’s an excessive preoccupation with excrement.) Maybe it’s a guy thing or normal locker room humor, but after a while it wasn’t funny any more.