The Great Depression
by Alon Bersharder, humor (2007)
Lulu, $7.99, ISBN N/A

This job is kinda boring. I just sit at the computer and enter the names of people I never heard of like Carl Commando into boxes and I'm 25 and too old for this. I should be doing something cool like jumping out of planes or working at a zoo but instead I'm hidden in this office where nobody ever gets to see any of my good features like my hair. Maybe if I went out more I'd know more people. Right now I only have one friend his name is David and I haven't met a new friend since meeting him fifteen years ago. That is a long time oh well what can you do. It took me an hour to write all that down and now it's time to go home so maybe I'll write more at home since I don't have cable.

The poor thing.

I hate watching TV usually 'cause every time I see a cute guy I think about all the women he must sleep with. Especially the football players those guys must do okay. Sometimes PBS plays old movies where the people don't talk and when I watch those I just think about how all those people are dead and that makes me sad and scares me a bit so I have to put on a nightlight and that costs money that I don't have. So that's that. I usually get jealous or sad or scared or all three when I watch TV.


My neighbor... I hear him having sex and sex sounds really gross when you aren't the one having it but I bet it sounds gross when I'm having it too if you're some other guy listening to me. I put on music to block him out but I could only find a CD of clown music so I have to listen to that and it's really weird cause I still hear sex in the background because I'm too poor to afford loud speakers. I'm not sure why I even have this clown music. Oh well I am going to bed because I have nothing else to do and tomorrow I have to wake up and temp.

The unnamed narrator of The Great Depression is a temp who has nothing but genital warts to his name. This story is pretty much his stream of consciousness doodling in his journal, and therefore I am given a glimpse into his sad little world.

The social world is confusing. I like people they are really neat and they don't seem to hate me but they don't talk to me either. I think I'm going to go out in the social world tonight after work because I haven't been in it for about two months. The weather guy said it's going to be a full moon tonight so I am going to do something weird like werewolves do and ask a girl out from work. It's this girl Lisa who is cute and seems nice but she's loud. Okay here I go if it goes bad I can blame it on the moon. Wish me luck.

It is hard for me to adequately describe in words how this book makes me feel. Sure, it is very funny, but at the same time I find myself wincing at many of this poor fellow's doodling. There is no mistaking that the poor guy is depressed underneath the self-depreciating humor in his journal writings. The author manages to pull off a pretty amazing feat here: as funny as this book is, it is also a pretty hard book to read at times due to how raw and real the narrator's feelings can be. Maybe it's just me, I could easily relate to the narrator at times and therefore there are many times when this book cuts pretty close to the bone. For example, the narrator's feelings of jealousy and embarrassment when his only friend becomes more popular with other people are pretty real here and his reaction and subsequent sense of inferiority therefore have me wishing that there is some way I can give this fellow a reassuring hug.

The Great Depression is an enjoyable and darkly funny read, but at the same time it's a little bit more than that as the narrator comes to life as someone who could easily be pieces of me at various stages in my life compacted into this slim but hilarious book. If you like dark comedy, you may enjoy this one.

Rating: 90

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