Reviewer Dr. Wesley Britton: Dr. Britton is the author of four non-fiction books on espionage in literature and the media. Starting in fall 2015, his new six-book science fiction series, The Beta-Earth Chronicles, debuted via BearManor Media. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio’s Dave White Presents where he contributed interviews with a host of entertainment insiders. Before his retirement in 2016, Dr. Britton taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College. Learn more about Dr. Britton at his WEBSITE
Author: Carla Collins
Publisher: Burman Books
Author: Carla Collins
Publisher: Burman Books
Comic actress Carla Collins is best known in her home country of Canada where she has a hit TV series called Carlawood and where she has been dubbed "Canada's Tina Fey." Judging from her first book, Angels, Vampires, and Douche Bags, her target audience is young, irreverent, and female. As she likes the number three—hence the trio of personality types in her title—readers fitting that triad should enjoy this light memoir/monologue/series of offbeat observations.
One problem with the book, if you care to see this as a problem, is that the structure is essentially that of a collection of comic routines glued together by various themes that aren’t always seamless. While the publisher bills Angels, Vampires, and Douche Bags as a hybrid of comedy and inspiration, it takes some time to pinpoint the inspirational aspects of Collins’ reminiscences, observations, and anecdotes. However, the comic touch is present in virtually every paragraph, especially the metaphors that serve as punch-lines for most of her images. “These ladies are all angels to me; and they are all absolutely gorgeous, which makes me either incredibly secure or stupid—and I think we all know I'm less secure than the Mexican border.” Some jabs are mere asides as in noting jockeys are professional athletes like basketball players, only left in the dryer too long. Her character sketches are often memorable including the pair of nudists who owned a clothing store or the exotic dancer named “Bridgette of Madison County.”
On the other hand, the “inspirational” aspects of this book are mainly Collins’ quirky definitions and advice on handling the vampires and douche bags of the world. “What distinguishes douche bags is that they will fight outside their own weight division. By this I mean a CEO who berates an intern, a group of snooty `ladies who lunch’ treating a waiter like dirt, or a Little League soccer coach who screams at one of his players. Stick to your own weight class.” “We all know negative douche bags who not only see the glass as half empty, but also bitch about the dishwasher spots on the glass.” When Collins really does want to present us with ideas to motivate us to think outside our personal boxes, she usually lets one of the people who shaped her do the talking. For example, she offers a long description of a friend named Twinkle that showcases the power of love and forgiveness. Twinkle’s husband was murdered by a 14 year old killer wanting money for drugs; Twinkles response was to look for ways to help teenagers in trouble, not seek revenge. Because Collins was moved by this story, she hopes we will too. And this device often works very well for a writer not out to elevate herself but present her world view with a very self-deprecating approach.
Again, while the table of contents indicates there’s an outline being followed, this is not a book with a linear flow. Not that it needs one. For example, Collins might be describing various types of douche bags and then suddenly present a series of portraits of friends she likes. Sometimes, unlike her sketch of Twinkle, these paragraphs tell us much about Collins autobiography and people she cherishes, but these sections are so hit-and-run the reader may wonder why we should care. Other digressions are obvious opportunities to plug in jokes. “I also discovered that old, loud white men also find me irresistible . . . It got to the point where I was scared to walk by the CBS studios for fear that I would be gang-raped by the cast of 60 Minutes.” Reading this from a male perspective, I admit her descriptions of perennial victims, divas, and drama queens has prompted me to consider ordering this book in bulk to distribute to a number of folks I know who might recognize themselves in Collins funhouse mirrors.You might feel prompted to do likewise after spending a few hours sharing a very original take on the times we live in. You might not be inspired, but you’ll have enjoyed one attempt to improve your outlook.Click Here To Purchase Angels, Vampires and Douchebags
Listen to Dr. Wes Britton’s audio interview with author Carla Collins for the “Dave White Presents” radio program posted HERE