Mardi Gras in the Moment
Review By: Gringo

Mardi Gras is apparently a crazy, fun time. I have never experienced it.

Mardi Gras in the Moment is one awful, miserable book. I read every last page.

Written by an annoyingly precocious man by the name of Jason Bentsman, this book attempts to be an amalgamation of several genuinely good novels as it strives to tell the oh-so-not-fascinating tale of one manís spontaneous trip to everybodyís favorite New Orleans festival.

Itís wrong. This book is just wrong. I should have known better from the fact that the author describes himself as having written this book "at ages 19, 20". But oh no! My obsession with the Big Easy continues to this day -- I am a big fan of the city -- so I went ahead and ordered this tripe in the hope it would evoke memories of my short time down there.

A quick glance at the back cover should illuminate how horrific an experience it was to read all 165 pages of this poorly written (irony!), deeply unfunny, absolutely non-charming and utterly pointless attempt at a novel.

Here's what the book proclaims: "The world has waited decades for a new anti-hero in American fiction, a character who prophesizes the pettiness of American social life at the beginning of the twenty-first century. With Conrad Greyman, a social visionary arrives to illuminate the inequities and shallowness of our social lives now, as the Beats did for their generation."

That's a match, about to be put to good use on this book

Here's what I proclaim: please shut up.

For such a weighty boast the book does not deliver, even slightly. Itís a loose string of drunken parties and supposedly hilarious, colorful characters, but at no point does Greymanís visit to the Crescent City become captivating nor provide any reason for the reader to care. Bentsman has done one marvel by creating a social visionary with absolutely no social vision.

Taken at random -- and with the grammar left entirely as in the book -- here's a random sentence. Plucked from page 80: "We exit sweaty stuffed crowd walking past pizza stand and convenience store making our way far far down where the road turns to gravel where the air is cool and where there are few students."

Fascinating, eh?

This book is clearly trying to be a blend of The Catcher in the Rye and A Confederacy of Dunces with some other Beat-era tomes thrown in, but instead comes off as the ramblings of an obnoxious vanity artist who thinks far too much of himself.

Unfortunately, I can almost picture his hipster friends sitting round a table at their favorite "quirky" coffee spot in Brooklyn, toasting how "insightful" and "captivating" young Mr. Bentsmanís book is. Iím sure none of them have actually read the thing.

To quote a random passerby I overheard on my last visit to NYC: "Fucking hipsters."


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