Humor Novelist Claims Only Women Can Save Male-Centered Comedies
July 26, 2022 (PRLEAP.COM) Entertainment NewsLaPuerta Books and Media announces the rerelease of the Misadventures of Rollo Hemphill series of satiric romantic comedies by award-winning author Gerald Everett Jones. The first title in the three-book series, My Inflatable Friend: The Confessions of Rollo Hemphill, was originally published in 2007 - the same year the iPhone was introduced. As Jones explains in a new preface, "Back then, cell phones existed but weren't yet what you'd call smart. Email was a thing, surely, but social media had not yet turned the world's great newspapers into ezines for old folks. Climate change could have been mitigated - or didn't exist - depending on which talking head you credited. In fact, 'the end of the world as we know it' was mostly a worn-out sci-fi theme, hardly a topic of almost unremitting daily conversation."
Jones suggests that, in this bygone era, the possibility for humor - even for downright silliness - still existed. But be insists that the themes of Rollo's stories, including coming of age and romantic jealousies, are not only evergreen but essential ingredients needed to counter today's worrisome headlines. Jones believes that only an avid new female readership will make it possible to resurrect popular interest in male-centered romantic comedies. As evidence it's women to the rescue, he offers the expert opinion of none other than Jane Austen, who wrote in 1813: "One cannot be always laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty."
Literature of the late twentieth century was dominated by male authors. In fact, there was an unrelenting series of Johns, including O'Hara, Steinbeck, Cheever, Updike, and Irving. Humor in the category of literary fiction was dominated by the hirsute likes of Wodehouse, Thurber, Mencken, De Vries, Lefcourt, and Barry. Exceptions included Dorothy Parker, who made a career of lampooning men, and Erma Bombeck, who picked unmercifully on housewives.
Since that time, book industry statistics show that women now buy more books than men do - and today they hold many of the managerial posts at publishing houses. In the area of comedy, Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary, appearing in 1996, set off a firestorm of book buying in the now sensationally popular genre of chick-lit.
So, one might ask, "Is male-centered comic fiction still a thing?" It is, Jones responds, if women embrace it, starting with poor Rollo.
The plot of My Inflatable Friend emphasizes the foolish decisions of a sex-crazed young man. He's settled for a menial job as a car jockey at a luxury hotel in Beverly Hills. When his hottie heart's desire doesn't give him a nod, much less a chance, Rollo devises a desperate plan. He dresses up a life-sized doll to look like one of the hotel's reclusive megastar residents and conspicuously drives the fake woman around town in borrowed vehicles. Rollo's clever scheme backfires with stunning success.
Recent favorable reviews from feminist journalists suggest Jones may be onto something. Magdalena Ball writes in The Compulsive Reader ezine, "Gerald Jones takes puerile to new levels. Just when you thought Rollo was deepening into a rich and thoughtful character, he reminds us exactly what he's made of. Here is a clever, hysterical, and fun romp which you can read fast, and enjoy secretly. Just don't tell your feminist friends." Paula Berinstein, producer and host of The Writing Show podcast says, "Woody Allen meets Nick Hornby in this hilarious beach read. Gerald Everett Jones, who is every bit as clever as Larry David (and has more hair!), has created a witty, literate George Costanza for us to savor. NBC, are you paying attention?"
Some male readers reluctantly agree. Syndicated columnist Tom Blake ("Single Again") quips, "Being single and on the make is tough enough when you've had some experience, even if it ended badly. But seeing poor Rollo go splat, it hurts so good when I laugh!"
The other two titles in this amusing, beach-read series are Rubber Babes, in which Rollo settles down unhappily in suburbia, and Farnsworth's Revenge, in which the unsuspecting Rollo is drawn into an international intrigue. All three are available now as ebooks or paperbacks from booksellers worldwide. My Inflatable Friend is also available as an Audible audiobook.
Gerald Everett Jones is the author of twelve novels. In the past three years, his books have won 16 awards in literary fiction and mystery-thriller categories, including both Gold and Silver in the New York City Big Book Awards for his Preacher Evan Wycliff mysteries. Learn more at geraldeverettjones.com.
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