This is the second time I’ve read this book, and the first time that I’ve read my own copy of it (a nice Christmas gift, that was apparently hard to find because of the long search title). It was actually released for the Christmas season last year. I am putting this book (along with two others to come) as the book’s I read every January, to “start the year off right.” The book is set up kind of like a child’s picture book, but this book is anything but. Most children wouldn’t understand the humor (in fact a lot of adult that I’ve foisted this book upon didn’t quite get the humor in it either). If I ever get a significant art collection, I would love to own an original of one of these paintings.
I noticed that twice McCall (or maybe Letterman, they wrote the book together and it is not clear how much of the writing Letterman vs. McCall did. I assume McCall did all the artwork, of which there is a lot) mentions Pottstown Pennsylvania, which is a small town/city with no particularly notable quality, that happens to be 30 to 45 minutes away from where I live, why McCall (or Letterman) is so fascinated with it, I haven’t the foggiest. I also took more notice of just how crooked the characters in the book really are, and also how much damage they intentionally inflict on nature, meaning that the writer(s) had a message with the book in addition to quirky humor.
There are 25 creations in this book, each one representing a different character or couple. Some of them are quite ingenious, and others are just kind of stupid. This is one of my favorite books however it is not 100% great. So I’ve listed all 25 creations in order from best to worst. I would say spoiler alert, but a lot of this book is about the paintings therein, so I wouldn’t be spoiling too much here anyways. Also another quick note, some of these are the names directly from the book and are used in the chapter titles, while others are just me briefly describing what it is.
The Redwood Tunnel, The Gyro-Ball, The Polystyrene Iceberg, The Speedboat Teepee, El Rancho Avalancheo, The Indoor Runway, Buffalo Paintballing, Mile High Ivory Tower & Private Stealth Jet, The World’s Longest Fireplace, Victory Falls Condo Tower, The Nuclear Jacuzzi, The Taj Mahal Relocated, Galapagolf, The Oiligarki Jr., Trattoria Amazonia, The Aztec Temple Speedway, Godlandia, The Top of Mount Everest on Top of a Sky Scraper, The World’s Biggest Bison, Fan Tang City, Giant Shark Sculpture, Burning Foot Golf and Country Club, Mountain Ski Lodge Only Accessible by Catapult, Franking for Inca Gold, The Puce Painted River.
If you want to hear more about the book or see some of the lovely artwork, you can see this clip from when McCall was interviewed by Letterman about the book they wrote together.