Pin It
Favorite

Book Review 

by Terri Schlichenmeyer & r & & r & The Portable Obituary


by Michael Largo


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & K & lt;/span & ick the bucket. Buy the farm. Bite the dust, pick out a harp, take a dirt nap. Croak. No matter how you say it, you can't escape it. But what about the guy who invented pencils, the inventor of self-adhesive bandages, or the man who envisioned credit cards? How did they cash in their chips? Find out about them and others in The Portable Obituary.





Although more people are reaching the century mark and beyond, there's one thing nobody escapes: We're all going to die. Officially, technically, we die because our heart stops. The end. But the truth is, there are lots of ways people have met the Grim Reaper. Cleopatra is said to have died from the bite of an asp. Bobby Leach, who survived a trip over Niagara Falls, slipped on a fruit peel and died of gangrene 16 years later. According to Largo, Babe Ruth's big, differently developed brain was what ultimately killed the famous baseball player.





I was tickled to death when I got this book, but now that I've come to the end, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, The Portable Obituary is fun and lighthearted, despite the subject. Largo writes with humor and so much irony and wit that you almost feel compelled to read the next obit and the one after that, kind of like a literary bowl of peanuts.





The problem is, this book is littered with so many errors that the enjoyment is tainted with a sense of hey-that's-not-true disbelief. And these aren't esoteric things; many were facts that could have been easily checked. Archimedes' entry contains iffy info. There's a glaring error in Helen Keller's profile, a completely wrong notation about the first African American to win an Oscar, and a major goof that will have Gunsmoke fans ready for a showdown on Main Street.





If you approach The Portable Obituary as a lighthearted book and you don't particularly care that it's not 100 percent factual, then you'll be happy to bury your nose in it. If you want something that you can trust, though, this book will irritate you to death.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Age of Zaycon
  • Age of Zaycon

    Spokane Valley's Zaycon Fresh found a way to make millions selling meat — and now it's trying to make a lot more
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Hazy Days of Summer
  • Hazy Days of Summer

    Smoke blankets the region; plus, Patty Murray on the proposed Iran deal
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Brick by Brick
  • Brick by Brick

    Development continues in downtown Spokane; here are some construction projects that could change the city's urban core
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow

Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow @ Riverfront Park

Through Aug. 30

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Terri Schlichenmeyer

Most Commented On

  • Manufacturing Fear

    Spokane's Republican sheriff says members of his own party are dangerously dividing people
    • Aug 12, 2015
  • 'Flip of a Coin'

    A Spokane Valley deputy trained to spot stoned and drunk drivers is wrong nearly as often as he is right, blood tests from drivers show
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


marijuana


Comment


Publisher's Note


BUSINESS


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation