“a genius of unspeakable evil…”

One would think that a book written in the first person with the words “I am a genius of unspeakable evil…” in the title would be dark and horrific. One would think that UNTIL he finished reading the title: “I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President.” Josh Lieb’s humorous book was a nice ‘reading break’ for me. I chuckled several times, grinned a lot, and even “lol”ed a couple times. I also realized while reading this book how rarely I read books whose main purpose is to entertain us through humor. Maybe I should change that…

***very minor spoilers included***
Anyway, set in Omaha, Nebraska, this book is the story of a middle school student, Oliver, who was born a genius but has been hiding the fact all his life, secretly creating a financial empire with amassed wealth that makes him the “third richest person in the world.” (Later he drops to fourth as he has to finance a revolutionary campaign in an African nation in order to acquire the current regime’s ruler’s rare Star Wars action figure to use in a bribe, but that’s kind of a spoiler…). Apparently, Oliver is biding his time until his eighteenth birthday, when he will no longer be legally required to live under his parents’ control.

In spite of his genius (of unspeakable evil), Oliver has issues with his dad, who is continually dwelling on his past glories in a student election of his own from years gone by. This makes Oliver obsessed with entering – and winning – his own school’s (class) presidential election, and he sets the machinery of his vast “empire” in motion to achieve this goal. His empire includes a former alcoholic who he has rescued to become the figurehead of his empire, mysterious personal bodyguards, unlimited bribery, coercion, and several Batcave-esque locations, one below his house, one behind his school locker, etc. All make great fodder for humor, which is there in abundance.

The book has a dark side too, though (I guess the title should give us plenty of warning of that), and it remained uncertain to me why such a genius would be so intent on earning the acceptance of a father he despises. Overall, however, this short book (188 pages) was a pleasant diversion. I learned later that he author is a former writer for both The Simpsons and The Daily Show, which elicited an “oh, of course…” from me based upon the style of writing. Thanks also to Two Bibliomaniacs (link to the left on my blogroll) the blog where I first learned of this book back in April.

What about you? What are some of the most humorous books you’ve read lately? Any recommendations?

Sent from my iPad