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BOOK REVIEW

Chicken Poop for the Soul II

More Droppings

By Chris Jones

Written by David Fisher

A Pocket Books Original Trade Paperback

ISBN: 0-671-03708-0

I never thought I’d discover a more irritating bunch than the Chicken Soup for the Soul saps. That all changed when I picked up a copy of David Fisher’s Chicken Poop for the Soul II: More Droppings. Boy, was I in for a treat. I have now found a second, yet bigger bunch of bozos.

The first group, the “Chicken Soupers,” are a bunch of yuppies who can’t face the fact that life sucks sometimes; they find enlightenment in Hallmark cards. They need to give their inner children a beating. Blame them for Oprah. These are the fools watching Big Brother because their lives are so pathetic.

The second group is a whole new crop of assholes. And by that I don’t mean ill-tempered or unnecessarily mean. These are the “Chicken Poopers.” They are the yuppies that somehow think they’re above the “Chicken Soupers” yet stay glued to Survivor in an attempt to bring some excitement into their lives. This group is the worse of the two because they not only think they’re more than just yuppies, but that they are amusing. Hence, this book.

The cover boasts, “Hilarious tales guaranteed to bring joy to the cynic in all of us.” Whoever wrote that either has no problem telling a blatant lie or needs to go out and buy a sense of humor. This book was not hilarious, joyful, or cynical. The last time I laughed as hard as I did reading this sorry excuse for entertainment was about two years ago at a funeral.

Before I bias your opinion of the book, I’d like to try to be fair and objective. The author deserves that, as do all schmucks, I suppose. This book, first of all, is essentially a collection of tales, a parody of the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Unless the “II” in the title is another attempt at humor, I’d have to assume that there was a predecesor that people thought was funny enough for a follow-up.

Topics span from an interpretation of the story of Moses in “The Modern Bible” to children’s fads in “The Power of PokÉmon.” The tie that binds all of the stories together is an over-the-top attempt at cynicism. And that is exactly what ruins the book. David Fisher obviously tries way too hard to be funny. Any joke that gets dragged out to the point where you can’t find the punchline isn’t funny anymore.

For instance, “Young Dr. Kevorkian” is the story of Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s life before he came into the public eye. Fisher decided to be clever and call Dr. Kevorkian “Black Jack,” saying he’s from Gravely, Illinois, had a high-school yearbook called Taps, and loves The Grateful Dead. It’s not that I don’t get the joke -- Dr. Kevorkian is associated with death. It’s just not funny. Fisher took this idea and beat it to un-life.

Sometimes, however, the problem was just the opposite. Rather that exhausting a joke, Fisher dove right in and told a dumb one, like in “The Secret of Speed Reading.” The chapter simply states: “Read fast.” At least it was short.

Now, Fisher did manage to pull a genuine chuckle out of me on occasion. He obviously knows what a joke is. But considering the book in its entirety, a few scattered laughs isn’t enough to make it worth the valuable time you could be spending getting that whistling booger out of your nose.