Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Don't Go Near the Water, William Brinkley, Random House, 1956, 373pp

As of today, I begin the reviews of the books I read for 1956, as part of my Big Fat Reading Project. If I stay on schedule, these reviews will be posted on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Unbelievably this novel was the #1 bestseller in 1956. I found it so boring that I had to resort to the chapter-a-day reading plan to get it done. It is one of those war books about a naval base that aims to show the absurdity of soldiering for fellows who aren't actually out fighting; the sort of books that are supposed to be funny and undoubtedly inspired M*A*S*H.

The trouble here is that it is not that funny and the writing style would put the most hardcore insomniac to sleep. Perhaps it is a guy thing and I just didn't get it. After all it sold the most books that year, although I used to watch M*A*S*H every week and laugh my head off.

On a remote island in the Pacific during World War II, a Public Relations unit made up of various businessmen from civilian life who have had a minimum of naval training, do as little work as possible, drink as much as possible and date nurses as many nights as possible. Ha Ha. Sounds like a guy thing to me. Meanwhile somehow the war gets won without any of them going near the water.

(Don't Go Near the Water, should you still want to read it, is available in paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

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