Freak$ I’ve Met
It is 1987, and in a matter of a few hours after graduation, Jack Fitzpatrick leaves Spokane, and heads for Los Angeles, hoping to find the proverbial pot of gold when he takes a modeling job. Going weirdly awry, the twenty-one-year old hightails it out of Washington, moving in with one of his college roommates. Things go awry once again, and Jack has no choice but to find another job. Various temp jobs go belly up, and cold calling for a stockbroker leaves little hope for cold, hard cash. When Jack’s first bona fide, yet precarious, job selling bonds provides enough skills for him to quit and try for big time investing in San Francisco, Jack has no idea that he is in for the freakiest time of his life.
Donald Jans spins a hilarious, laugh-until-you-cry story in his memoir-ish debut novel. Jans’ first person narrative features Jack, an adventurous young man, who is surrounded by the strangest of the strange. Replete with a colorful cast, Jans’ characters fit the stereotype of “freaks”—many which fill deprecating, self-absorbed, sex-driven roles. A few among the flurry of most memorable characters are Mrs. Pohlkiss, Jack’s infamous neighbor; Dexter, his college roommate and best friend; and Fat Wyatt, one of Jack’s co-workers. Of particular interest is the way Jans uses his cast—all foiled characters—to force Jack to ultimately do something substantial with his life. Incorporating one uncomfortable scenario after the other, Jack has to constantly re-evaluate his life choices.
Jans’ writing style is laced with irreverent verbiage, which nicely accentuates the off-the-chart, funny scenes. Great examples are found in incidents with Mrs. Manchester’s (Dexter’s mom) pristine white couch, with Rockwell’s computer system, and in the unforgettable elevator scene with Fat Wyatt. Readers will definitely have to put the book down for a while to gain composure after reading that last-mentioned entry—absolutely hands down side-splitting! Chapter after chapter combines bizarre and unsuspecting situations with Jack’s desperate attempts to fit in, and become a real somebody.
A great mix of comedy, set within a coming-of-age plot, Freak$ I’ve Met is without a doubt top-rate humor that not only has the potential of reaching a wide audience, but also of becoming a best seller.