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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Book Review: A Million Ways To Die In The West

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the creator of "Family Guy" and director of "Ted" comes a hilarious first novel that reinvents the Western. 
Mild-mannered sheep farmer Albert Stark is fed up with the harsh life of the American frontier, where it seems everything and anything can kill you: Duels at high noon. Barroom brawls. Poisonous snakes. Cholera-infected drinking water. Tumbleweed abrasion. Something called "toe-foot." Even a trip to the outhouse. Yes, there are a million ways to die in the wild, wild West, and Albert plans to avoid them all. Some people think that makes him a coward. Albert calls it common sense. But when his girlfriend dumps him for the most insufferable guy in town, Albert decides to fight back--even though he can't shoot, ride, or throw a punch. Fortunately, he teams up with a beautiful gunslinger who's tough enough for the both of them. "Un"fortunately, she's married to the biggest, meanest, most jealous badass on the frontier. Turns out Albert has just discovered a million "and one" ways to die in the West.

I ended up enjoying this book more than I thought I was going to, actually. If you're expecting Family Guy set in the Wild West you'll be disappointed, but this is a funny book and it is actually quite sweet in places. I found the characters to be likable and the situations did make me laugh out loud at times, although there were one or two jokes that I suspect will translate better onto the cinema screen than they did onto the page.

I really enjoyed the characters of Edward and Ruth. Ruth is a prostitute in the saloon bar but her and Edward are in love and are "saving themselves" for each other and for marriage. They are a very sweet couple and while a lot of their humour comes from the fact Ruth's job is not exactly the most innocent of careers I found myself really rooting for them and their relationship. I also enjoyed the main character, Albert, who spends most of his time being thoroughly grumpy about the fact he is living in the frontier with all of its dangers. He is a coward without being an over the top comedy "chicken" type character, and you can't really help thinking sometimes that if you were in his place, you would make the same choices he does.

This is a book by Seth MacFarlane, so expect there to be some off-colour jokes and this is certainly not a book for children or the easily offended, but if you're in the mood for something silly, you might want to give this one a try.

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