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?
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.
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 … more
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 … more