This blog is a review of my recent read “Dear Luke We Need to Talk, Darth…and other pop culture correspondences.” I recieved this book free of charge through a nifty little Web site called Blogging For Books. While I didn’t pay for this book, I did choose it from a selection of titles. I disclose this in the interest of full disclosure for any bias this may predispose an author to.
Dear Luke is a recent publication (still on our new in paperback table at the bookstore) by author John Moe, host of Wits and McSweeney’s contributor. This book is a humorous look at all things pop culture from Star Wars to Friends to Harry Potter. Moe does a good job of throwing in something that I imagine almost anyone can relate to. Part of the fun is in deciphering what piece of pop culture he is going to reference next.
The book is almost 300 pages of brief communication from favorite characters like Mickey Mouse, the shark from Jaws, Kurt Cobain, Dorthy of Oz, Bill Cosby’s sweater collection, and more and then more. Looking at that list though, it’s actually a list of not-so-favorite pop culture icons that Moe speaks for in Dear Luke. No aspect of popular media feels neglected though. With lots of references to music, movies, sports, TV, and even politics, there’s a chuckle here for almost anyone. I feel like I kept up with most of the references, but I did have a couple go by me. I’ve never seen Breaking Bad or the X-Files and so those were more of just a nod of acknowledgement on my part.
I was not a fan of the “Rejected Super Bowl Half-Time Show Proposals” that were scattered throughout the book ever 5 to 10 pages. It covered the history of super bowl half-time shows, but it seemed like a thin stretch on humor. Then again, I’m not a sports fan or a fan of the half-time shows, so perhaps these sections just weren’t for me.
I went through as I read and dog-eared all the pages where things that were particularly clever and/or funny stood out to me. My count of marked pages in total came to eight. For a 300 page book, eight instances of entertainment is pretty good. It’s not a spectacular count, but it’s not a total wash either. The book reads almost like a parody movie on pop culture, a popcorn flick, something good to see from Red Box on a rainy day. It’s a standup routine, and it’s effective for a few laughs. I think, that probably being the purpose of the book, it succeeded in this.
My favorite of the comedy vignettes included one from the management of “The Hotel California,” Axl Rose’s manager critiquing his song lyrics, Kurt Cobain writing to the board of Teen Spirit deoderant, the Walking Dead online forum for walkers, a CIA letter about special threat Barney the Dinosaur, and the backstory of the ghosts from Pac Man. Moe did a good job in most of the references to musical pop culture and the mainstays of pop culture. I think the struggle came to some of the less well established pop topics.
I could see this being a book I would buy my dad for father’s day or for a guy friend. For some reason, it doesn’t seem like something I’d reccomend to a female friend. Not that I think that women wouldn’t enjoy the references, it just seemed like something maybe an adolescent boy would get the most kicks out of. This book is very current in covering the trends of what’s popular now or things that have a timeless sense of humor to them. Unfortunately, I think this book will fall off into obsurity in a year or so because it is so current and it dates itself in a big way.
Bottom line: If you see this book in a used bookstore for a couple of bucks, pick it up for a relaxing, light read. Set your expectations low, have fun, and you are good to go.