Monday, November 16, 1998
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Book Review
A Man Full of Himself,
Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe is apparently, like, this guy who's famous for wearing a white suit all the time. As a result, you can usually find him at the While-You-Wait Dry Cleaners where he has to go every few hours to get either the Macdonald's ketchup or mustard or both cleaned off his white pant leg so he can continue on with his lecture tour.

The upshot of all this is that when Tom Wolfe is not at the dry cleaners waiting for his suit to be done so he can come out of the bathroom where he's hiding in his boxer shorts and his "Don't blame me, I Voted For George the Animal Steele," tee shirt, then he's in some big lecture hall where huge crowds sit with jaws hung wide open in awe listening to him speak extemporaneously for hours about all the sensitive beautiful things about hanging out in dry cleaners' bathrooms all the time.

But this means he doesn't have a lotta time to write novels and shit, so that when he does write one, it automatically immediately becomes #1 on the bestsellers list and wins the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award and the Superbowl, just because everybody is so amazed that, given all the time he spends in lecture halls and dry cleaners' bathrooms, he could manage to write any book at all.

In his latest book, which comes out today, or was it yesterday, and has already gone well beyond being #1 with a bullet on all bestsellers lists and winning the World Series, is a warm, heartfelt autobiography called A Man Full of Himself. In this emotionally searing memoir, Wolfe describes, in intricate detail, his 11-year struggle to decide what to call this book.

At first, he tells us, he definitely wanted to call it A Man Full of It, but then his PR agency called up and said he better call it A Man Full of Himself, to appeal to a wider audience. This is because, apparently, more people would much rather read a book about Himself, than a book about It. -- Go figure.

But Wolfe stuck to his guns and, in 50 pages, describes how he called up his PR agency and told the receptionist absolutely, positively, definitely "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOO way, Jose!" [actual 50-page passage abbreviated for the sake of brevity]

Of course, eventually he gave in when the PR agency threatened to blow up his dry cleaners or clean up his blow dryers. Whichever.

Wolfe is also famous for writing another book which totally "captured" whatever decade it was written in. The book was apparently about the so-called "Bonity" family who were, like, these California surfer dudes who dropped Acid or snorted Kool-Aid all the time and drove around in a totally cherried-out Ford Econoline van.

But then, one day, while they were surfing La Jolla Cove, a raging fire totally destroyed the van, and they decided to write a book about it called "Van Fire of the Bonity's" about how all their Kool-Aid or Acid went up in smoke, leaving everybody in La Jolla either tripping for 24 hours, or running around with this weird unquenchable craving to add sugar and water to themselves. Whichever.

The book is also about how, when they couldn't sell this book to, like, Bertelsmann or Harper Collins, they accidentally bumped into Tom Wolfe in the dry cleaners' bathroom in Wichita, Kansas, one day, and got him to pretend to write it himself, instead, and since everybody felt sorry for him for having to hide out in dry cleaners' bathrooms all the time in his boxer shorts, the book was immediately published, and since everybody felt sorry for him for having to make a living by lecturing about hiding out in dry cleaners' bathrooms all the time in his boxer shorts, it immediately became Number 1 with a bullet on the bestsellers list forever, until today, when his new book, A Man Full of Himself, became Number 1 with a bullet on the bestsellers list forever, instead.

Of course, whereas his first book was really ghost written by the Bonity family, his new book (since he didn't have time to write it himself, what with spending all that time in dry cleaners' bathrooms where there are no legal pads and pencils to write novels with, and no place to plug in your laptop, either) was apparently ghost written by The Monkees or Sonny and Cher.

'nuff said.

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