Author: Graham Parke

Publisher: No Hope Media

ISBN: 9789491919039

At first glance, I had some difficulty in figuring out what I would be in for in reading Graham Parke's Sometimes I'm so Smart I Almost Feel Like a Real Person. But within its two hundred and sixteen pages there exists a powerful reflective narrative that focuses on an extremely introverted young man and one who in Yiddish would be described as a “nebish,” (a person, especially a man, who is regarded as pitifully ineffectual, timid, or submissive).

Parke's principal character, Harold, who uses the pseudonym Leverage, has started a Youtube channel blog where he proffers advice, or as he prefers to call it, “wise-isms” to his followers as to how to seduce women. He describes his Youtube channel as one that chronicles his exploits charting out the human condition.

In reality, however, Harold is trying to work out a way to attract a young woman, Emma, who he is madly in love with and who is a saleslady in Ye Olde Peanut Shoppe that sells various varieties of nuts and in particular his favorite peppered Brazils. Harold strongly believes that “without Emma there is no Leverage, and Leverage has to survive in order to save lives, so this is all for the greater good.”

Some of Harold's followers are quite hostile and wonder out loud if people seriously take advice from this “moron,” as they describe him, or is it all one big joke? Nonetheless, he does have his supportive followers who can hardly wait for him to post his next “wise-ism,” and they also contribute their own personal thoughts to his Youtube channel. Incidentally, most of the chapters are prefaced with Harold's words of wisdom and observations such as “If you think about her too much, the girl in your head becomes more interesting than the girl in real life,” or “Apparently there's something about shoe-shaped objects that activates the pleasure centers of the female brain.”

To complicate matters, one of Harold's followers, Leopold enters into some kind of relationship with Emma and thus Harold begins to craft scripts that he describes as pure evil that will help him destroy their relationship. He believes that Leopold stole the relationship he believed he had with Emma from him.

Also woven into the plot is Harold's having to face his past and his meetings with his father who had abandoned his mother and himself when he was ten years of age.

Quite interesting and original about the book is the manner in which Parke imbues the narrative with astute and intelligent reflections such as his take on the state of being lonely. Harold contends that being lonely is being in the absence of a very specific person. It is someone whom you really like to be around and perhaps someone you may not see again. And to him this sucks big time. On the other hand, he describes being alone as when you are creating great art and watch good television and eat interesting food. He goes on to further explain the difference between the two which presents a great deal of something to chew on while providing to the reader an experience that is equally entertaining as well as thought provoking.

Harold's father, who suddenly reappears in his life, aptly describes Harold as a child, “as someone who had a flair for the dramatic.” He goes on to say “You had this strange, interesting way of looking at things. Your ideas always seemed so alien, so counter intuitive, but then you'd explain them to us, this little boy holding miniature lectures in the living room for his mom and dad, and suddenly it'd be impossible for us not to see the world through your eyes.”

Overall, the book is rich in its sensitive perception and engaging writing that brims with a great deal of humor and thoughtful observations.

Follow Here To Read Norm's Interview With Graham Parke