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Prom Night and Other Man-made Disasters

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If Mark Coggins's life were a supermarket, the stories from Prom Night and other Man-made Disasters would be the aisle markers. Meander through the nostalgic, riotous, and sometimes cringe-inducing wares Coggins offers up in his version of Whole Fool. Whether he's staking out the house of his two-timing, belly-dancing girlfriend, deep sea diving with equipment fashioned fr If Mark Coggins's life were a supermarket, the stories from Prom Night and other Man-made Disasters would be the aisle markers. Meander through the nostalgic, riotous, and sometimes cringe-inducing wares Coggins offers up in his version of Whole Fool. Whether he's staking out the house of his two-timing, belly-dancing girlfriend, deep sea diving with equipment fashioned from tire chains, a trash can and a garden hose, or donning an oversize waterfowl outfit to win the heart of the one who got away, Coggins writes with honesty, self-effacing humor and warmth.


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If Mark Coggins's life were a supermarket, the stories from Prom Night and other Man-made Disasters would be the aisle markers. Meander through the nostalgic, riotous, and sometimes cringe-inducing wares Coggins offers up in his version of Whole Fool. Whether he's staking out the house of his two-timing, belly-dancing girlfriend, deep sea diving with equipment fashioned fr If Mark Coggins's life were a supermarket, the stories from Prom Night and other Man-made Disasters would be the aisle markers. Meander through the nostalgic, riotous, and sometimes cringe-inducing wares Coggins offers up in his version of Whole Fool. Whether he's staking out the house of his two-timing, belly-dancing girlfriend, deep sea diving with equipment fashioned from tire chains, a trash can and a garden hose, or donning an oversize waterfowl outfit to win the heart of the one who got away, Coggins writes with honesty, self-effacing humor and warmth.

44 review for Prom Night and Other Man-made Disasters

  1. 5 out of 5

    John

    How does one write a review about a book when one is still laughing? Mark Coggins' Prom Night and Other Man-made Disasters has been described as "Deliciously quirky ... panache to spare." I'll pull no punches and say this: it's funny, yet it's real life for some of us. Climbing the Boy Scout ladder to the exalted rank of Tenderfoot? I can relate to that. Working model rockets with batteries that were "somehow involved in their ignition" to fly? I still laugh remembering that. Rug burns? I sti How does one write a review about a book when one is still laughing? Mark Coggins' Prom Night and Other Man-made Disasters has been described as "Deliciously quirky ... panache to spare." I'll pull no punches and say this: it's funny, yet it's real life for some of us. Climbing the Boy Scout ladder to the exalted rank of Tenderfoot? I can relate to that. Working model rockets with batteries that were "somehow involved in their ignition" to fly? I still laugh remembering that. Rug burns? I still smile at the memories. Can you relate to these stories? I can, and thanks, Mark Coggins! IT companies that lost 70% of their employees every year? Been there, done that too. Kodak Instamatic cameras, and moments recorded for posterity? Oh, yes... and this is the beauty of Mark Coggins' story here: it's one that so many of us can easily relate to, with all of the foibles and joys mixed in together. But the author has a way of expressing himself that takes things beyond just plain levity, as can be seen here: "We ended up at my crummy separated-person's studio apartment in downtown Palo Alto, where we pulled down the crummy separated-person's wall bed and did the deed. For me, the experience was transcendental. It was like watching The Wizard of Oz after a steady diet of black-and-white movies. For her, it was probably not much more than a convenient way to kill an evening. While she was getting dressed, tugging on her stockings as if she were Mrs. Robinson, I blurted out something Benjamin Braddock-like about how special it had been and how I hoped I would be seeing her again soon." All of the stories here are good, but some stand out as being brilliant. "The Junior Scientists Club" had me laughing with memories of similar experiences in the '50s, while "WTF?" is a story that anyone who has ever been in the IT field really needs to read. "Whole Lotta Shakin'" and the character of Lotta are truly memorable, and this passage is a good example of why: "In my late twenties, I waged a bitter struggle for the affections of a belly dancer named Lotta. This "Battle of Lotta" cost more time, money, and self-respect than any crusade for companionship from the opposite sex that I've undertaken before or since. Reflecting on it now with my fifty-two-year-old brain--and my fifty-two-year-old libido--it's hard to characterize the battle as anything other than a pointless, idiotic conflict. I'd like to reach back to 1987, grab hold of my younger self, and demand, 'What were you thinking?'" Bought this as an Amazon suggestion and first read it on my Kindle 2, starting it as I was nodding off one evening. But it had me laughing, and one-third into it, switched to my Kindle Fire. The real reason is because the author has included some great b&w and full-color photos. If you have a Kindle Fire, you'll also appreciate the excellent formatting and a real table of contents that works. This is the first of Mark Coggins' books that I've read, but a friend has suggested that I check out his Candy from Strangers or his earlier work, The Immortal Game , but I'm open to suggestions, as I do like his style of writing. The nostalgia runs form touching to sidesplittingly hilarious. And if you can relate to the awkwardness of "the first time" (or the second or third, for that matter), then don't miss this one. Highly recommended. Note: this review appeared earlier on Amazon.com in a slightly different version. 7/28/2012 BTW, this is the funny guy who wrote this...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Myers

    I guess I get to be the sourpuss reviewer... I'll start off by saying, the book isn't awful; the stories are nothing if not genuine. However, I found them to be a bit superficial. There wasn't much depth. Writing what happened isn't enough, especially in a book such as this. I now know about Coggins' various past relationships and jobs, but unlike the superior Sedaris or Burroughs, I'm not changed by reading it. There is a lack of significance in the writing, and along with that, a lack of impact I guess I get to be the sourpuss reviewer... I'll start off by saying, the book isn't awful; the stories are nothing if not genuine. However, I found them to be a bit superficial. There wasn't much depth. Writing what happened isn't enough, especially in a book such as this. I now know about Coggins' various past relationships and jobs, but unlike the superior Sedaris or Burroughs, I'm not changed by reading it. There is a lack of significance in the writing, and along with that, a lack of impact. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone, but it's not awful enough to warn against... It's just kind of extant; nothing more, nothing less.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Glen

    I won this book, Prom Night by Mark Coggins, in the Goodreads giveaway. Although I don't usually read a book that isn't full of action, crime ,mystery, etc., I am really glad that I took the time to open up the book. I found myself relating to a lot of situations, while growing up, that Mark wrote about. The book was very enjoyable, very funny and I couldn't stop smiling or laughing through the whole book. I won this book, Prom Night by Mark Coggins, in the Goodreads giveaway. Although I don't usually read a book that isn't full of action, crime ,mystery, etc., I am really glad that I took the time to open up the book. I found myself relating to a lot of situations, while growing up, that Mark wrote about. The book was very enjoyable, very funny and I couldn't stop smiling or laughing through the whole book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marty Cagan

    could not put it down - I have read all of the mystery books by this author but this book is a step in a totally different direction. I think this is his best writing yet. Most of the stories are extremely funny. Some stories are poignant. It's all woven together into a whole that brought back so many of my own memories. I really didn't want the book to end. could not put it down - I have read all of the mystery books by this author but this book is a step in a totally different direction. I think this is his best writing yet. Most of the stories are extremely funny. Some stories are poignant. It's all woven together into a whole that brought back so many of my own memories. I really didn't want the book to end.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Betts-Green (Dinosaur in the Library)

    Yet another awesome find thanks to GoodReads giveaways. Coggins writes like the awkward geek I am, and I love him for it. I especially loved the Westboro essay, though I'm not sure I could have handled it as he did. I likely would have gone to jail. In any case, great read. Yet another awesome find thanks to GoodReads giveaways. Coggins writes like the awkward geek I am, and I love him for it. I especially loved the Westboro essay, though I'm not sure I could have handled it as he did. I likely would have gone to jail. In any case, great read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Prom Night and Other Man-Made Disasters is a major must-read. His book is quirky and laugh-out-loud funny. Its hard to get into at first, but once i made it to the second chapter i was instantly hooked.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I won this thru Library Things member giveaways. I really liked this book and loved the author’s sense of humor. I would recommend this to anybody who needs a good laugh. I am so fortunate to win one of these books.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lori

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jessie Mae

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rachelle

  11. 5 out of 5

    Zephyr

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tabitha

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joe M.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mark Coggins

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jan

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melissa T

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Ritchie

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  20. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  21. 4 out of 5

    Adrian McCarthy

  22. 5 out of 5

    Martha

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vikki

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

  25. 4 out of 5

    Britty

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gina

  27. 5 out of 5

    Colee B

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carly Reighard

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brionna

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pucemoment

  31. 4 out of 5

    Tricia

  32. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  33. 5 out of 5

    Jay Ferguson

  34. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra Joseph

  35. 4 out of 5

    Karla

  36. 4 out of 5

    Megan

  37. 4 out of 5

    Christie

  38. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda Mason

  39. 4 out of 5

    Marcie

  40. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

  41. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

  42. 5 out of 5

    Ronni

  43. 4 out of 5

    Kourtney

  44. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

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