Author Edward De Bono once said that humor is by far the most significant activity of the human brain. If this is true, then Return of the Dittos proves conclusively that the fertile brain of its author, Dale Andrew White, continues to work overtime, much to the benefit of his readers.
Return of the Dittos is a rich confection of satire and humor, all boxed in twenty short stories and tied with a ribbon. The stories have no central theme which adds an element of surprise and anticipation to each one. Browsing through the stories the reader will be entertained by the account of a bag boy revolt in a rundown grocery store; a cat fight to end all cat fights over the presidency of a posh woman’s club; the boring and mind numbing revelations of an aging, semi-retired rock star; and even a bit of revisionist history concerning what really happened when Christopher Columbus approached Queen Isabella about exploring the new world. My favorite of the lot is the story of B B Motley, an up and coming young lawyer, who tries desperately and unsuccessfully to conceal from the staid, old law firm he works for the fact that he comes from a family of circus clowns.
One of the things that makes the stories in Return of the Dittos so clever and humorous, is White’s agile use of names to identify places and people. Several stories take place in Swampwater, which is the county seat of Mosquito County, FL , for example; and while reading the book, the reader meets characters Mr. Knuckell, a heavy handed and authoritative high school principal; and Emily Hattcheck, a shy and unassuming member of the aforementioned woman’s club. But among the diverse cast of characters portrayed in the book, my favorite is Parker Pry, a nose fetishist who succumbs to the charms of a nasally challenged married lady appropriately named Wendy Schnott.
I have to admit that even after reading White’s stories several times, I still have trouble describing his writing style. Some of his stories come across as being in the classic style of humorists like Mark Twain or the British satirist Saki; others remind me of the comedy of the slapstick movies of Charlie Chaplin or Laurel and Hardy. Still other stories come across with raw, in your face humor, worthy of Comedy Central. All I know is that David Andrew White is a clever and talented writer and Return of the Dittos is a truly funny book. It’s the kind of book you want to have with you when you have some time to kill and are ready to laugh at yourself and laugh at the world.
Miss McCulla is a retired English teacher of 33 years. She has Mastery of the grammar and mechanics of English, and has taught expository, fiction writing, and rhetorical skills to hundreds of students and aspiring writers throughout her career. She has written/edited/self-published five books, and currently manages a writing blog called The Underground Tutor where she gathers essays, articles, entries, papers, manuals, profiles, criticisms, analyses of literature, just like those asked of students and writers in the university and publisher houses, and years of “teacher tips” and “general interest examples,” and passes them on to interested writers.
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