Author: Josh Freed

Publisher: Véhicule Press

ISBN: 9781550653465

According to Josh Freed, author of He Who Laughs, Lasts emails from Nigeria are rumored to be the top national export offering many kind words and an opportunity to share in a fortune of U.S. dollars and gold bullion. Freed informs us that he has received many generous offers from Prince Joe Ebohli Ouagdougou, as well as the mistress of former Congo President Laurent Kabila, who both are eager to share around twenty million dollars with him. As Freed states: “The astonishing thing is that my letters are never the same. Each is a unique essay, written in its own flowery words, in English right out of David Copperfield. I feel like Uriah Heep is writing to me.” Sound familiar?

As Freed points out in the Preface to He Who Laughs, Lasts, “there is only one antidote to our speed-crazed, tech-obsessed pass-word-plagued, financially-jittery, fitness-fetishist, gluten-sensitive, fatness-fearing world-and that's to laugh at it.” And this is precisely what he does with his many hilarious stories that are served in an easily digestible format spread over six chapters which have been garnered from Freed's collection of columns that have appeared in newspapers over the years.

Although Freed is a Canadian and some of his topics are unique to his fellow countrymen, he nonetheless explores a gamut of situations familiar to us all no matter where we may live. As all of us can appreciate that getting a laugh from the printed page is not an easy task,  however, Freed succeeds admirably when he pokes fun at our frustrations with modern technology and how it is changing our lives, grocery stores we no longer frequent, the unbelievable choices we are faced with when deciding which television set to purchase, the passwords we are called upon to remember, how are we supposed to celebrate Labor Day and why we don't labor on Labor day, getting modern products out of the package, studies that may be bad for your health that emanate from “The Institute of They Say-the experts who keep telling us what's good and bad for our health,” and although global warming may be bad for people and polar bears, they are great for bugs. These are just a taste of some of the subjects that Freed explores and to quote one of the greatest humorist of all times, Mark Twain, “Humor is mankind's greatest blessing.”

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Freed, he is an award-winning filmmaker, writer and journalist who has won two National Newspaper Awards as Best Canadian Columnist for his weekly column in the Montreal Gazette. He is also the author of several books, including Moonwebs; Vive Le Quebec Freed; The Anglo Guide to Survival in Quebec; and Fear of Frying, which won him the Stephen Leacock Prize for humor. The Leacock Prize is an annual literary award presented to the best work of humorous literature in English by a Canadian writer. The award is a tribute to well-known Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock.

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