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Review: ‘The Full Ridiculous’ takes a darkly comic look at life’s lows

Cover art for 'The Full Ridiculous'
Soft Skull Press

The Full Ridiculous

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First-time novelist Mark Lamprell tackles depression, near-death experience, run-ins with police, parenting woes and the generally speaking, some of the worst life can throw at us in The Full Ridiculous. Michael O’Dell is a family man with a wife, two teenage kids and a dog named Egg. He’s working on his first book and life is rolling along, that is until he gets hit by a car while out on a run, and to his great surprise, manages to survive.

In the wake of his accident, Michael thinks to himself that things can only get better, but then his daughter Rosie throws a punch at a vindictive classmate with powerful parents, while his son Declan is battling his own demons and involved with some illicit substances. Rather than rebounding from his accident with a new lease on life Michael finds himself sinking into a malaise, he feels constantly desperate, lost and listless and soon enough his personal and professional situations begin to crumble.

The Full Ridiculous takes all of this and presents it to readers as if they are Michael–– “Twelve hours later, after you have been medicated and are sitting in the psychiatrist’s office, Wendy will relate a version of your lost minutes as reported to her by Sergeant Bass”––immersing them in the drama and action of his life. Though this style is a bit jarring in the early pages of the novel, it quickly sweeps the reader into the river of Michael’s thoughts and day-to-day existence, delivering and intimate look at his life, the good and the bad, the excitement and the mundanity.

Lamprell takes us through this period of growth and tumult in Michael O’Dell’s life in a way that feels authentic and real, the worst moments are also some of the most humorous and touching.

Readers who enjoy work written in the tone of life, and narratives that celebrate the minor (in the grand scheme of things) wins and losses that make up life will find The Full Ridiculous an enjoyable read that finds both levity and gravity in those little moments.

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Title: The Full Ridiculous
Author: Mark Lamprell
Format: Paperback
Length: 240 pages
Publisher: Soft Skull Press
Release date: May 13, 2014
Language: English