Review: Everything Hurts by Bill Scheft

14 Feb

Everything Hurts: A Novel My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book as I was starting to really have problems with the back pain that had been bothering me a little bit for months. It was just the story for my frame of mind.

This is funny book. No question. It’s a very satirical humor, which I enjoy. As with most satire, even its most ridiculous moments have roots in reality.

Phil Camp is a sportswriter.  He’s also developed a mysterious pain that his doctor can’t fix.  He decides to follow up on a recommendation for an alternative approach.

I enjoyed both of the self-help gurus that were the focus of the story.

Doctor Abrams claims all physical pain is caused by issues in the psyche. Resolve those, and the pain will go away. The problem is, who can ever really resolve all resentments, anger, and so on?

Better yet was “Marty Fleck”, Phil’s alter-ego for his parody of a self-help book, Where Can I Stow My Baggage?. No one is more surprised than he is when people take it seriously, and are actually helped by it.

There’s a romantic storyline, and (as you’d expect) that has twists and turns as well. Janet was a little flat compared to the other characters, but not enough so to be an issue.

The (rather ridiculously complex) family relationships and accompanying issues made for interesting reading, and again, there were roots in reality that made the craziness worth reflecting on.

This book isn’t for everyone. The humor won’t work for some, the issues being satirized won’t speak to others. If it doesn’t sound like it would appeal to you, you’re probably right. If it sounds good to you, pick it up to read. I’m glad I did.

I received this book from the publisher for review.  I appreciate this opportunity, but it didn’t influence my opinion of the book!


Posted by on February 14, 2010 in books, reviews


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4 responses to “Review: Everything Hurts by Bill Scheft

  1. brizmus

    February 15, 2010 at 2:09 am

    Well, now I want to read this book just to see if the humour will work for me. I have a very particular sense of humor. It sounds very interesting, though. I kind of think I would like it.

  2. nanscorner

    February 16, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I think I would like the humor in this book. I will have to give it a try.

  3. madhaus

    May 20, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    I thought this book was an amazing balancing act of funny and poignant. I’ve read “funny” books that run out of steam pretty quickly, but this one managed to be insightful as well. The humor is sardonic but not heavy-handed; the situations are pretty funny too, except when they’re omg are you kidding me awful. Don’t worry, it’s comedy, the author isn’t going to torment his protagonist forever.

    One thing I loved about Everything Hurts is how layered it is. Items that seem like throwaway description keep coming back, over and over, but not in the way you’d expect. I don’t want to give away any surprised, but I will say that the dialogs between Phil and his psychiatrist are amazing when you find out all the important stories he managed not to mention. Each chapter reveals more surprises!

    I’m sure th author had fun writing this book, and I’m amazed that the self-help columns are actually useful.

  4. Nettie Hartsock

    August 16, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    I’m Bill Scheft’s online publicist and I know he’d love to hear from all of you too on his site – . Thank you too for reading his book! And thank you again Laura for reviewing it on your blog as well.


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