Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Michael Snyder's A Stand-Up Guy ~ Reviewed

Michael Snyder
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (August 9, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031032193X


In his third novel, author Michael Snyder delivers another honest, authentic, and intriguing plot carried along by quirky characters whose actions and reactions still manage to look and sound like the rest of us. It is often said that every good joke contains some basic truth. In A Stand-Up Guy, aspiring comedian Oliver Miles puts that axiom to the test when he revamps his comedy act by filling it with darkly personal truths about friends and family. But, as the edgy humor begins to attract more attention, the young comic's personal life gets more complicated. When he realizes he has managed to turn the two women he cares about most into props for his act, he wonders if his honesty on-stage is making him dishonest in life. Despite the sobering reality of his world off stage, the laughter and the success is intoxicating, even for a stand-up guy. A Stand-Up Guy is a real story about real people struggling with life's rights and wrongs. It will appeal to anyone who enjoys a uniquely-woven relational drama threaded with a little mystery and delivered with a lot of humor and insight.


Michael Snyder writes characters I’d like to hang out with. His anti-heroes, and I use the term to mean messed-up but good-hearted, tug at my maternal heart strings. Every one of his books has a male lead who is beaten down by life but who retains a charming spark of hope and sense of humor.

Oliver Miles fits this category. Oliver needs to be funny. And he needs to be recognized as such by the few people who will not give him that satisfaction. His father figure runs a comedy club so exclusive that Oliver had one shot as a teen and he blew it. Oliver’s mom disappeared into her self a long time ago. Not only will she not tell him he’s funny, she can’t remember who he is. Growing up is hard to do, especially when you don’t have a clue what that even means.

Oliver spends his nights as a security guard at a quirky character-filled hotel and his days trying to figure out life and sort out his dreams. It doesn’t help that the new night auditor disarms him with her charm and her mystery. And speaking of mystery, there are a few to untangle. The apparition that shows up now and again, and a few missing valuables from guest's rooms to be exact. Will Oliver find the thief before the night auditor loses her job? Will Oliver find himself before he loses the night auditor?

If you love quirky characters or stories this is a great one to add to your collection. Snyder's books are so rich with character and spot on pacing that I recommend them to any writers who struggle with writing likeable characters. I have yet to read one of his books without plenty of smiles and satisfied sighs.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Bonus Review: 

Oliver Miles feels it’s his destiny to be a stand-up Comedian. He works the night shift as a security guard so he can seek his big break. He realizes there are no over-night success stories, just guys that are persistent in becoming better at what they do to make people laugh.

Oliver is an underdog character you find yourself rooting for. He’s nice, innocent and reminded me of the security guard character Ben Stiller played in the movie Night at the Museum. The tongue and cheek humor in this novel is like that of the movie..

Things start getting a little out of hand when Oliver decides to put truth in his act. He decides to use his own life experiences as material to make people laugh instead of borrowing one liners’ from other peoples acts. He recites this prayer to himself.

“God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot make funny; Courage to use things I can (in my act); and wisdom to know the difference.”

He told the truth and people laughed! But how far should he go for a laugh and a chance at fame? Would what he shared be worth the price in the end?

I like the honesty of these characters and how most of them struggled with the direction God would have them go. The decision is up to us to walk this faith journey out one day at a time. All is not lost when Oliver is in the middle of his darkness. The author does show hope shining through some dark places in this story. Just like the Ben Stiller character in Meet the Falkner’s, Oliver learns his way around strange people and an even more colorful mother. Everyone has their life story to tell, will we take the time to listen and learn before we judge people on what we see on the outside?

This novel may not be for everyone, but I enjoyed it because I have a husband who has tried his hand at stand-up comedy. It is unreal and crazy what guys go through to get their big break and make people to laugh.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

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