So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


THATCH Featuring Politically Correct Man (I.e.: Person). Jeffrey Shesol

Jeff Shesol has been a Rhodes Scholar, the author of Mutual Contempt, a political history of the antagonism between Robert Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, and a speech writer for President Clinton. Yet before he did all these things, while he was a student at Brown University, he was a cartoonist.

This collection of his Thatch cartoon series, published in 1991, has a Doonesbury-esque collection of college students who attend a fictional Wayland University. These include the politically correct Thatch, named for his unusual cowlick, and his roomate Tripp Biscuit, an insensitive womanizer. They are joined by Kate, the editor of the school paper, Sumner, a rich kid turned Deadhead, Woodie, who teaches Modern American Cultural History, and Reed, a misanthropic geek. Last but not least is the shallow but rich Sloane Wharton, whom Tripp covets without success.

The first President Bush and his war in Iraq are part of the background as these young people try to fit into the cultural wasteland of post-Reagan America. Maybe this book deserves a comeback. After all, there is another Bush in the White House and another war in Iraq.

The humor is timeless and the characters are well developed. An enjoyable read for anyone wanting a bit of nostalgic humor.

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