BRAIN by Dermot Davis

brain A guy writes a couple of very serious upscale literary fiction works.  His agent can’t get any publisher to take them.  He despairs.

He is at a book signing by another author, the book being one of those self-help books, and is selling like hotcakes.  Our author not only despairs, but now disdains this vapid taste of the book-buying public.

But he is dead broke, so decides to mimic the best selling self-help book, but in a flagrant send up, a broad parody.  And it becomes a best seller.   But not because everyone sees the joke, but because everyone takes it seriously and finds that all the over-the-top exercises and activities have changed their lives for the better.

His agent, always out for the main chance, sees a way to make big bucks out of this, and develops extremely profitable seminars, talks, products,and a philosophy based on the book,  and is pushing for a sequel.

The agent has a ne’er-do-well brother whom she sets up as the body guard for the author, and all kinds of screwball stuff ensues.

And what really ensues is that his ‘philosophy’ becomes something of a religion.

I was having trouble deciding how to read this book, as it swayed back and forth between humorous, parody, serious philosophical yada yada, and a somber world view. Kind of like it couldn’t make up its mind whether to be shelved under ‘Humor’ or ‘Philosophy’.  For me, there was too much philosophical/quasi spiritual claptrap, and not enough grounded humor, so it ended up being neither.

Dermot Davis is the author of the very intriguing Stormy Weather,  which I really enjoyed.  I don’t feel that Brain lived up to the potential of his first book, being neither as complex nor as profound in its scope.  Saying that we are all sheeples, lost and adrift and looking for someone to tell us what to do, to give us a recipe for contentment in life, is not saying much that is new or helpful, or  frankly, even entertaining.



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