Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


The ratings:
5 stars  excellent
4 stars  very good
3 stars  good
2 stars  fair
1 stars  poor

Blog stats:

Navigate the site:

Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

Advertise: Rates & stats

Authors & publishers:
I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Niesslein, Jennifer: Practically Perfect in Every Way | Main | Finder, Joseph: Power Play »

O'Keefe, Dan: The Real Festivus

  

Printer-friendly page! Use print preview to see how this page will appear.

Perigee © 2005, 135 pages [amazon]
3 stars

If you're a Seinfeld fan you know all about Festivus, the faux holiday that was invented by George Costanza's father Frank:

Frank Costanza: Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.

Cosmo Kramer: What happened to the doll?

Frank Costanza: It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born: a Festivus for the rest of us!

In the Seinfeld episode ("The Strike"), the celebration of Festivus involves an aluminum pole, feats of strength, and a ritual airing of grievances. It is not, at least in George's view, an occasion of celebration, but rather a holiday to be endured. The idea of Festivus has nonetheless leapt from the small screen into the popular imagination. Need a Festivus pole for your own real-life celebration? You can buy a six-foot floor model online.

[INSET TEXT: Festivus was celebrated (irregularly, with no set date) with depressing music and the recitation of poetry and the ingestion of meat.] As it turns out, Festivus did not spring fully formed from the heads of Seinfeld's writers. It sprang from the imagination of Daniel O'Keefe Sr., the father of one of those writers. The O'Keefe family actually celebrated Festivus annually during the 1970's and 80's while Dan O'Keefe and his two younger brothers were growing up. But as the author explains in The Real Festivus, the holiday they observed was rather different from--if no less bizarre than--the celebration popularized on television:

"Though only a family of five originally celebrated Festivus, these days it is celebrated by literally dozens of prisoners, college students, and bored people in rural areas across this great nation. And some crappier nations like Canada and Uruguay. And God bless them all and keep them from rape and thresher accidents. But they're doing it all wrong."

In this record-straightening book, O'Keefe explains the genesis of Festivus, its symbols (a clock and a bag, but no pole) and rituals. Festivus was celebrated (irregularly, with no set date) with depressing music and the recitation of poetry and the ingestion of meat. There were strange hats and coarse political statements. Each year one or more themes were assigned to the holiday. (In 1977, for example, the theme was, "Are We Depressed? Yes!") But the most important element of Festivus was the annual tape recording. More than half of this book is taken up with a transcription of some of those Festivus tapes--jokes and pronouncements and embarrassing family secrets and summaries of the family's history since the last recording.

Do these transcripts make for interesting reading? Well, not per se. We readers are like outsiders peering through the O'Keefe's windows. The boys are teasing one another, their mother sitting to the side, for the most part quiet. Their father is hamming it up in front of the cassette recorder, now speaking German, now breaking into song, now declaiming in some more or less meaningful pidgin Romance language. Most of the jokes are lost on us, but we can appreciate the atmosphere within. And so the Festivus transcripts, if not riveting, wind up providing us with a surprisingly intimate portrait of a family, its members intelligent and deeply odd, playful but mutually supportive.

In his humorous introduction to The Real Festivus Jason Alexander (George Costanza on Seinfeld) says of the book that it is "a shameless attempt to cash in on an international phenomenon. It is airport or bathroom reading at its best." Which is true enough. But it's also mildly informative and funny and charmingly written and brief. Recommended, in short, for the Seinfeld aficionado.

Tags: , , , ,

< Tweet it! | Reblog
https://www.book-blog.com/2007/08/okeefe-dan-the-.html
Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Comments




Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In


About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






The Sunday Salon.com



Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.