Saturday, January 07, 2006

inPrint: the Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin (2003) 4/5

The Pleasure of My Company is the second novel from writer, actor, and comedian Steve Martin, one of my favourite entertainers of all time. At 176 pages, this wonderfully written book is an easy read and thoroughly enjoyable. Martin is a talented writer on all counts: his style is unique without being difficult, he can be very funny without being comic, but above all, he is enormously perceptive and intelligent, creating characters who, while being strange and unusual, are entirely believable. Indeed, I think it is this insight that made his original comedy and subsequent writing so enjoyable.

The Pleasure of My Company is centred around the almost cripplingly obsessive-compulsive, though very intelligent, Daniel Pecan Cambridge. The story takes you on a firsthand journey through this highly unique individual's mind and life - following him as he copes with everything from ensuring that the lightbulbs in his Santa Monica apartment always total 1125 watts, to his difficulties in interacting with the outside world (e.g. having to avoid curbs resulting in him only being able to cross streets where two driveways are directly opposite one another), to the development of a touching relationship with his young therapist, Clarissa, and her son. One of the central events driving the story is Daniel's participation in the Most Average American essay contest, where he ends up competing against himself, having entered the contest twice (once using a pseudonym). However, the story is really about getting the reader inside Daniel's head, which Martin accomplishes with grace and depth. Steve Martin's novels (unlike his 1998 book, Pure Drivel) aren't meant to be specifically comical - they're funny because life is funny - but they certainly demonstrate the great intelligence that is behind one of America's greatest entertainers.
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1/07/2006 04:12:00 PM  

4 Comments:

Anonymous Elisa said...

I read this book a while ago after my sister raved about it and it's an absolutely hilarious read. I'd love to see it being adapted into a movie at some point.

January 08, 2006 11:49 AM  
Blogger Jeff MacArthur said...

I think it'd make a really cool movie too, Elisa. I'd love to see Steve as the lead for sure!

January 08, 2006 10:05 PM  
Blogger B. McKechnie said...

Jeff,

This book is amazing! I am really surprised more people do not know about it.

You may also want to get the audio version. Steve Martin narrates it so good you can almost close your eyes and "watch it".

January 09, 2006 1:36 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

It't nice to "meet" another fan of Steve Martin online. I read Shop Girl by SM a couple of years ago. Don't know what # book it is for him, but it HAS been turned into a movies and debuted at the Toronto Film Festival last year. It will be distributed in the States and Canada this year, so quick read the book first.

Anybody every head of his play "Picasso at the Lapin Agile?" Also, good. He creates a time warp in a famous Parisian Cafe and supposes than Einstien and Picasso happen to meet there...oh yes, very entertaining!

January 23, 2006 8:30 AM  

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