Winner of the 2010 Gold Medal in Humor from the Independent Publishers Book Awards, humorist Ed Spivey Jr. has created a memoir of living, working, and raising kids in the nation's capital during the Bush years, a time of conflict, environmental degradation, and economic hardship (and that's just the part about his family). From a daughter's first dance to a lobbyist's first jail sentence and a cicada's first date (after waiting underground for 17 years, one gets anxious), Spivey captures the times with his well-honed talent for finding the funny. Spivey's book celebrates the uniquely American system of democracy that protects our God-given right to, year after year, do the dumbest things, and the author doesn't miss a one. In these troubled times, laughter is the best medicine, and A Hamster Is Missing in Washington, D.C. is just the prescription you need, unless you have an infection, in which case you'll also need an antibiotic.
Ed Spivey Jr. was art director and humor columnist for Sojourners magazine, a Christian justice monthly in Washington, D.C. He did this work for 46 years before he finally retired, anad dragged bodily from his work station and told the future waits for him outside the office door, a door now locked from the inside. Washingtonia is his follow-up book, just published and available at Politics-Prose.com. It presumably is also award-winning, to be announced with appropriate fanfare at a later date.
He resides in Washington with his wife, and can be found on most days working in the yard with his wife. One of them wants to go back inside and check email.
See Ed Spivey's latest book, Washingtonia, here: https://www.politics-prose.com/book/9781624293344
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What readers are saying about the book:
It's just a hilarious book!
It’s perfect when you need a good laugh. It does have a liberal bias, but even my more conservative family members thought it was funny.
5 out of 5 stars!
My wife gave me this book for Christmas, knowing I'm a big fan of Sojourners magazine--a faith-based peace and social-justice publication where author Ed Spivey serves as the award-winning humor columnist and art director. I started reading it around mid-morning on Friday, when the last gift was opened by my kids. I kept it handy and picked it up every chance I had over the weekend. I finished it by Saturday evening, then Sunday morning started reading it again.
The only book I've ever read that way before is "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek," and as odd of a comparison as it may seem, it was for the same reason. Unlike Dillard, of course, Spivey writes in the style of humor and satire rather than prose poetry. But like Dillard, Spivey says things in such a wonderful way that it caused me to enjoy the book on two levels: 1) how he said something, which was always hilarious, and 2) what he had to say in the first place, which was always brilliant.
Honestly I don't tend to enjoy the work of most humor columnists for long, finding it to typically be sophomoric and rather like reading the script of a stand-up act. It can be funny at first, but bores me quickly. Spivey's essays, however, are not only laugh-out-loud, repeat-favorite-lines-to-your-spouse-over-and-over-again funny, but also offer such intelligent satire of everything from religion to politics to parenting that you actually learn a thing or two in the process. The guy also flat-out called some things. While reading his biting, hilarious critiques of the Bush Administration's early years, for example, I found it interesting to think about how history has proven his remarks from the time period to be true. It's easy now to critique the Bush Administration with the same zeal, but then even the New York Times and most of the rest of the national mainstream media was supporting our nation's build up to war. It took a lot of guts for someone in the media to take the position Spivey took at the time, when it was not necessarily in line with popular opinion.
In summary, a great, great book with a lot to say and a great way of saying it. Look forward to the next collection.
Belly laughs and more...
I found myself thinking of Anne Lamott while reading this book. That may be partly because Lamott mines a similar territory of parenting and progressive faith-based politics. But also because Spivey, like Lamott, made me laugh out loud--a big, delicious belly laugh--in the case of "A Hamster is Missing" on almost every paragraph. And something else, too; it is rare to find a book that makes you laugh like this one does and that also makes you think. Besides irreverent, unpredictable humor and a completely unique voice, Spivey brings warmth and even depth to whatever he is riffing on.
You want to spend time with this author, not just because he makes you laugh but because he returns you to whatever you were doing before you picked up the book with a little more heart.
Spivey is a holy riot
Spivey's book is terrific! From beginning to end, he has a knack for making the daily hum-drum of parenting and family life a non-stop series of chuckles, giggles, and laughing out loud. And his satirical look at political Washington gives Stewart and Colbert a run for their money -- except Spivey is better because his is rooted in an appropriately irreverent progressive Christianity that keeps you thinking as you're laughing.
My mostly apolitical wife loves this book. So does my left-leaning 19-year old son and my iconoclastic 13-year old daughter. But the real tribute to Spivey's brilliance is the fact that my conservative Republican friends love this book, too.
I am a big fan of witty satire, of which yes, I determine what constitutes wit, and as such have determined this brand of humor, short after short, to be it. And to be clear, it wasn't the liberal spots that were the funniest.
The way Ed observes life "during the Bush years" happens to be exactly how I observed this period. My favorite essays were `Les French'--what an invective exchange; `Eighty in a 55 Zone'--too precious; `So, How About That Economy'--HaHaHa...as I so do recall that once upon a privileged generation; `The Man Without A Face'--ouch! Who would've ever thought laughing so hard could `really' hurt, too? But apparently not as much as when I came to `There's Something In The Room'! Oh. My. Goodness. Let's just say I came this close (two fingers mashed together) to being rushed to the hospital where I pictured written beside ‘nature of illness'--Ed Spivey.
I am now convinced. There really is a Hamster Missing in Washington, D.C. What a wonderful way to spend leisure time.
Thank you, Mr. Spivey
At the time I began reading "A Hamster is Missing" I was grieving the loss of a loved one. I knew that humor is good medicine, but it was still very difficult to open the book and attempt to focus on the writing. In less than one minute, I was laughing and able to focus on the most creative and original humor of Mr. Spivey. The fact that each scenario was only a couple of pages enabled me to read without stopping and grasp the total hilarity of the subject at hand.
I soon found myself wanting to read more and more and more!
Mr. Spivey's ability to arrange the English language into a means of describing some very serious social and political issues in a way which makes one laugh is remarkable and a blessing in today's troubling society, without eliminating the need for some major social reform and justice if we are going to continue as a viable nation. He also has the experience of a parent raising two daughters who are in their middle and late teens and describing events that any parent can relate to with empathy and humor.
I hope that Mr. Spivey will consider publishing a sequal to this book. Furthermore, he would be a spectacular stand-up comedian and story teller.
Thank you Mr. Spivey for creating the Hamster Book at a time when I truly needed an injection of terrific humor!