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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » House of Cards: Love, Faith, and Other Social Expressions » User review

Funny, with a chance of meatballs

  • Sep 20, 2009
Picture yourself choosing a birthday card. Imagine that you're roaming the racks and picking up one card after another. You browse the humor section, the religious section; you see photos, cartoons, all sorts of cards. Some make noise or have moving parts, or are die-cut. But on this imagined shopping trip, what if they all had the same sentiment inside?

Reading House of Cards: Love, Faith, and Other Social Expressions was a bit like that for me. Some parts made me reach out eager to pick them up and be entertained. Yes, great intro, then flip it open and ... oh my goodness, more of the same.

Author David Ellis Dickerson is a very funny guy, and his wordplay is to die for. I thoroughly enjoyed his verses and cryptic crossword work. Dickerson landed what seemed like the perfect job for his talents: writing for Hallmark Cards. I would have appreciated a clearer look at the systems and processes of Hallmark--and possibly more about his avocation as a puzzle-maker. Dickerson, though, is like the nerdy kid who throws himself in front of the camera every time, making monster faces. Granted, House of Cards is a memoir so by definition it's ABOUT him, but ... maybe he's a bit too invested in being annoying, to the detriment of this book.

Dickerson was raised as a fundamentalist Christian and converted to Catholicism as an adult. At twenty-seven he was a virgin, he and his fiancee having decided to "just say no" until they married. He plays the humor card repeatedly in telling this part of the story, and frankly, it was just TMI for me. It contributes heavily, as you might imagine, to his sense of stress and dislocation in the Hallmark job. The focus on his sex life, and what seemed like ridicule of himself and the systems and staff of Hallmark, got in the way of my full enjoyment.

Dickerson, an NPR contributor, is brilliant and funny and there's lots to enjoy here. I'm hoping that his next book is just as brilliant and funny but with less self-deprecation. For me, three stars with the promise of a sunnier day next time.

Linda Bulger, 2009

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More House of Cards: Love, Faith, a... reviews
review by . March 20, 2010
I thought this might be an interesting book about what it is like to write greeting cards for a living. While there is a bit of that here (working for Hallmark in the mid-1990's was both more prosaic and more weird than you'd expect), mostly this is just about Dave.    And Dave's problems. He's a relapsed evangelical Christian. He's been engaged to his girlfriend for six years, and they remain faithful even though for three of those years she's been away working on her PhD and …
review by . September 12, 2009
David Ellis Dickerson is one heck of a writer. Why? He managed to make a book about himself- an incredibly annoying, clueless, and self-centered guy (he does *mean* well, though. I think...)- incredibly engrossing and readable.     In the hands of a less capable author, Dickerson's experiences at Hallmark, and personal observations, would have been unreadable. But he makes them funny, interesting, and even a little shocking.    So despite my dislike of Dickerson …
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Linda Bulger ()
Ranked #148
When I love a book, I want to wave it in somebody's face and say "Look! Read this!" The internet was made for people like me, don't you think? The lunch.com crowd seems friendly enough...   … more
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Dickerson was a struggling 20-something with a creative writing M.F.A. when he submitted a writing portfolio to Hallmark in part because he had an idea for a novel set at a greeting card company. He takes the job of writing those cards, but what seemed like a natural outlet for his highly verbal sense of humor quickly degenerates in a profoundly alienating environment, where his self-acknowledged ridiculously intense and enthusiastic personality rubs almost everybody the wrong way. The tone is set early—Oh Jesus, I just sent out a cry for help, Dickerson thinks at his first holiday party, and everybody heard it, and no one is coming to save me. His personal life isn't any better, as he struggles to maintain a long-distance relationship with the only woman he's ever dated while coping with the frustration of being a 28-year-old virgin. The behind-the-scenes material is diverting (you'll never be able to read the word special on a card again without smirking), but it's the broader drama of the profoundly un-corporate Dickerson's doomed efforts to fit into the corporate world that gives the memoir its staying power.(Oct.)
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ISBN-10: 1594488819
ISBN-13: 978-1594488818
Author: David Ellis Dickerson
Genre: Biography
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover
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