Sunday, May 18, 2014

Review of Luck Be a Chicken: The Gizzards of Wrath

Jameson Gregg mixes raw realism and compassion with brazen satire in Luck Be A Chicken: A Comic Novel. He paints the rough side of life with comic relief. Farce and embellishment live on the top drawer of his humor toolbox.

The sensory impact, the humor when it is least expected, and the nail-biting anxiety propel the rapid turning of pages to the end. This book digs into the inner core of some unsavory elements of society. As a result, certain events portrayed and the language spoken may disturb some. Delving into the minds of rough characters can be shocking.

Jameson holds a cracked mirror in front of us. Somewhere, some piece of us all is in there, and we wish it weren't. For example, Butterbean Sweat and his dumpling wife Ruby rely on junk food to comfort them. Bean's boss is a perverted, white-collar criminal who doesn't care if his chickens kill people—profit is king.

Let’s not lie to ourselves and pretend chicken plants don’t exist. Although Jameson places the reader inside the plant, he does so with a comedic touch and doesn't smother the reader with grossness as Upton Sinclair did in exposing deplorable conditions in meat packing plants in 1906. Jameson portrays substandard practices in a fictional plant but doesn’t imply that all or even most chicken processing operations are substandard. The compassion Jameson shows for the less fortunate in our society will remind readers of John Steinbeck. With a backdrop of humor, Gregg questions whether hardships are caused by poor personal choices or oppression of evil men.

The deer hunt brought back fond memories of Faulkner’s great short story, “Race at Morning.”

This humorist tramps out a twenty-first century version of the gizzards of wrath. He doesn't turn his eyes away from the segments of humanity lacking coping skills.

A highly entertaining read from a most-talented author.

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