I have two distinct lives. One in the trenches of low-budget film and television, the other in professional gambling. Because of the feast-or-famine nature of show business I need a reliable income... gambling. So here you will read about both worlds. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Becoming Bobby by Michael Konik

Becoming Bobby

When I was 13 I worked for a summer in my Father's law office in downtown Chicago. I would take the Chicago & Northwestern train down to the city. When you exited the back of the Northwestern station you were faced with the Chicago River. People streamed to the left, and right to walk across the bridges which fed them into The Loop. I remember standing outside the station watching thousands of men and women in their business suits, carrying briefcases, marching like ants across those bridges, and thinking, "I am never going to end up like these people."

The main character in Becoming Bobby never had that epiphany. We find him in his late 50s, working at a job he calls his prison, with an eight hour sentence each day. He's in an awful job, and a loveless marriage, and he dreams of becoming Bobby. Bobby is his manifestation of the guy every man wants to be, and every woman wants to screw. There is not much plot here. Perhaps our main character (his name is never given) is descending into madness, but as he becomes more like Bobby he goes in to see his boss, and demands that his salary be doubled. This is a salesman that hasn't added any new accounts in years. Bobby gets fired, leaves his wife, and heads off to Vegas.

Konik uses some odd writing conventions in this book. First of all the main character is never named, and neither is anything else. He doesn't go to Las Vegas, he goes to "the desert." There are no names of anything you would recognize. He doesn't drink a Coke or 7 Up, he drinks a "Fizz." Movies, TV shows, actors, everything is unrecognizable. This seemed odd to me and constantly pulled me out of the story. The story is told in a first person, stream of consciousness that made me feel like a psychiatrist listening to the ramblings of a stoned patient.

Everyone I know who has read this book agrees about one thing. The book really picks up steam when Bobby gets to Las Vegas. We recognize the craziness of both the casinos, and the "ploppies" like Bobby who thinks he is an expert slot player. I wish the first part of the book, the part about his boring awful life, was half as long, and the Vegas section were doubled. Make no mistake, Konik can really write. I have been a big fan of his non-fiction work for years. Fiction is a very subjective thing, and the satire on mid-life crisis really isn't my thing. On the other hand, satire on Las Vegas is. I give it...

2 1/2 aces

You can buy the book here. Becoming Bobby

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