Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel, Lunatics
A comic novel told from the perspective of two disparate, battling characters
For Lunatics, two wild and crazy guys (Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist Dave Barry and Saturday Night Live writer Alan Zweibel) got together to write a comic novel. Barry and Zweibel emailed each other chapters for Lunatics, each from the perspective of two disparate, battling characters: Zweibel plays and writes as Philip Horkman, a mild-mannered pet-store clerk who tries to do the right thing, whereas Barry’s alter ego is Jeffrey Peckerman, who’s written as the crudest, most politically incorrect suburban dad possibly ever to emerge from literature. It’s easy to see that Zweibel and Barry were having fun when they wrote and narrated the book, as Peckerman and Horkman lock horns and find themselves in an ever-escalating farcical adventure that leads them from a dance recital altercation to being accused of terrorism to finding themselves on a nudist cruise ship leading a Cuban revolution to a submarine, and so on. However, the fun experiment doesn’t always translate to a satisfying listen for readers. While the concept of “why not?” may play well on the improv stage, it seems slightly silly in novel form. Meanwhile, the character of Peckerman, written seemingly for shock value, mostly translates as plain obnoxious.