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Barn Again: A Memoir

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Finally, a book for people who love swear words, prairie dogs, and latrinalia. Finally, a book blurb that makes effective use of tricolon. Jonathan Barnard Jr., a midlist author who achieves bestsellerdom through a habit of getting arrested on slow news days, will do anything for his daughter, even betray his artistic code by writing a Pepsi-sponsored zombie novel so he can Finally, a book for people who love swear words, prairie dogs, and latrinalia. Finally, a book blurb that makes effective use of tricolon. Jonathan Barnard Jr., a midlist author who achieves bestsellerdom through a habit of getting arrested on slow news days, will do anything for his daughter, even betray his artistic code by writing a Pepsi-sponsored zombie novel so he can send her to Harvard one day. Ordered by his agent to produce a memoir, Barn records the adventures and experiences he is comfortable sharing with the public: his experience in London as a banjo-plunking busker, his days as a bumbling eco-saboteur, his non-tenure-track tenure as a Dumpster-diving adjunct instructor. There's an accidental standoff with police that leads to the burning of his ex-wife's McMansion, a stint as a judge on Publish or Perish (a canceled reality show about undiscovered writers), and an aborted suicide-by-bear attempt. There is also a low-speed bicycle chase.


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Finally, a book for people who love swear words, prairie dogs, and latrinalia. Finally, a book blurb that makes effective use of tricolon. Jonathan Barnard Jr., a midlist author who achieves bestsellerdom through a habit of getting arrested on slow news days, will do anything for his daughter, even betray his artistic code by writing a Pepsi-sponsored zombie novel so he can Finally, a book for people who love swear words, prairie dogs, and latrinalia. Finally, a book blurb that makes effective use of tricolon. Jonathan Barnard Jr., a midlist author who achieves bestsellerdom through a habit of getting arrested on slow news days, will do anything for his daughter, even betray his artistic code by writing a Pepsi-sponsored zombie novel so he can send her to Harvard one day. Ordered by his agent to produce a memoir, Barn records the adventures and experiences he is comfortable sharing with the public: his experience in London as a banjo-plunking busker, his days as a bumbling eco-saboteur, his non-tenure-track tenure as a Dumpster-diving adjunct instructor. There's an accidental standoff with police that leads to the burning of his ex-wife's McMansion, a stint as a judge on Publish or Perish (a canceled reality show about undiscovered writers), and an aborted suicide-by-bear attempt. There is also a low-speed bicycle chase.

39 review for Barn Again: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joey

    In a perfect world, self-publishing would be punk as fuck, a giant, artistically vibrant middle finger aimed at the publishing industry, where, to quote from Barn Again, it's "almost impossible for anyone who didn't study under Joyce Carol Oates to get published." This world, though, is far from perfect. Most self-published novels are nigh unreadable, and the self-pub market is full of insufferable marketing majors who idolize James Patterson for selling millions of books and write as if they've In a perfect world, self-publishing would be punk as fuck, a giant, artistically vibrant middle finger aimed at the publishing industry, where, to quote from Barn Again, it's "almost impossible for anyone who didn't study under Joyce Carol Oates to get published." This world, though, is far from perfect. Most self-published novels are nigh unreadable, and the self-pub market is full of insufferable marketing majors who idolize James Patterson for selling millions of books and write as if they've never actually read a novel. Barn Again: A Memoir is something entirely different: a self-published novel that's actually good. Really fucking good. And funny. Barn Again aims its blistering satirical sights on the publishing industry, and it scores on nearly every shot, lampooning the publishing industry through the fake-memoir exploits of its protagonist, Jonathan Barnard Jr., a writer of some renown and an all-around fuckup. Along the way, it manages to satirize pretty much everything it touches, from memoir to politics to the adjunct-fueled university system. It also contains the best scene involving someone shitting on the windshield of a car ever committed to print, and if that's not enough for you, I just don't know.

  2. 5 out of 5

    W.C. Clinton

    Before commencing this review, I feel compelled disclose that I received a free copy of this book from the author. I did not receive it as part of the Goodreads giveaway program, which strongly requests such a disclaimer in any resultant review. Instead, I happened across the author’s account of a reviewer who complained that she is “not a fan of the F-word” accompanied by his promise to provide a free copy to the first person who took the converse position. I immediately declared myself a great Before commencing this review, I feel compelled disclose that I received a free copy of this book from the author. I did not receive it as part of the Goodreads giveaway program, which strongly requests such a disclaimer in any resultant review. Instead, I happened across the author’s account of a reviewer who complained that she is “not a fan of the F-word” accompanied by his promise to provide a free copy to the first person who took the converse position. I immediately declared myself a great friend and stalwart defender of the F-word and received a signed paperback in the mail shortly thereafter. Even before beginning the novel proper, one encounters deft touches that foreshadow the author’s voice – a rating, patterned after movie and record labels, of F for fiction, warning of frequent use of satire and extended sequences of vocabulary; the note to the reader that the book is interactive, in that when the reader finds an unfamiliar word s/he can mark the place and look the word up; the disclaimer that it is a work of fiction (“even if it wasn’t obvious to certain literary agents”). The tone is consistent from front cover to back with the grumpy first-person narrator of this faux memoir. The narrator, Jonathan Barnard, Jr., confesses immediately that he is writing a memoir only because he needs the money to pay for his daughter’s college education. He is a moderately successful author who is disappointed that he is more famous for his misadventures with the law than for his literary accomplishments. Barnard (“Barn” to his friends and family) hates agents in general, and barely tolerates his own agent specifically, and sprinkles criticism of the publishing system in America throughout the novel with asides and head-on tirades about agents and publishers and the commercial appetite for paranormal genre-splicing (“Zombies from Space!”) over literary fiction. Barn then presents what started as a collection of essays that his agent insists he turn into the beginnings of a memoir, and through his picaresque misadventures presents a critique of modern publishing and modern American culture. His cross-section of characters includes an ignorant anarchist camper, his Ayn Rand styled greedy in-laws, an old high school flame, a loser high school acquaintance, and an un-named university professor who presents a wildly unconventional reading of “The Great Gatsby” through the lens of modern gender politics. Alan Good uses the memoir format to effectively skewer suburban development and homeowner associations, academia, Christian conservativism, the recent spate of Republican presidents, authority figures, and most consistently the publishing industry and the American book market. Barn provides caustic commentary on a range of topics, but also acts on his opinions, mostly when drunk, often with the use of bodily waste materials, and always with hilarious consequences. The result is a portrait of an American outlaw battling to retain his humanity against a shallow modern society. The F-word does come into it once or twice.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Erudite and irreverent, Barn Again will get you thinking and laughing hard. I look forward to reading more from Alan Good.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Richard Rieman

    I was hooked when I read the part about the literary agent sending most of writer Jonathan Barnard Jr.'s short stories back to him in a box of ashes. Alan Good has wrapped some great insights into the pain of trying to write "not crap" in a frequently hilarious tale of a bad divorce, warring in-laws, and police problems. Warning -Alan uses big words, and more curse words than I have ever said in my life. The prairie dog flipping you off on the cover should have been a clue. Five stars for a funn I was hooked when I read the part about the literary agent sending most of writer Jonathan Barnard Jr.'s short stories back to him in a box of ashes. Alan Good has wrapped some great insights into the pain of trying to write "not crap" in a frequently hilarious tale of a bad divorce, warring in-laws, and police problems. Warning -Alan uses big words, and more curse words than I have ever said in my life. The prairie dog flipping you off on the cover should have been a clue. Five stars for a funny, intelligent, well-written book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Watkins

    Actual Rating: 3.5 This was a very different read for me! I can say with 100% honesty that this is the most intriguing and unique book I’ve ever read; I’ve never read anything like it. John Barnard pulls a lot of crazy shenanigans in this novel while simultaneously proclaiming he’s not so great a person. Despite all he does (which is often over-the-top ridiculous), he’s actually morally grounded and sticks to his beliefs. Sometimes the language of the book deterred me from finishing it faster. Actual Rating: 3.5 This was a very different read for me! I can say with 100% honesty that this is the most intriguing and unique book I’ve ever read; I’ve never read anything like it. John Barnard pulls a lot of crazy shenanigans in this novel while simultaneously proclaiming he’s not so great a person. Despite all he does (which is often over-the-top ridiculous), he’s actually morally grounded and sticks to his beliefs. Sometimes the language of the book deterred me from finishing it faster. I understand John is a sophisticated character and, if he were real, would scoff at this critique, but sometimes the prose was off-putting to me. Some favorite quotes: “‘Have a beer,’ he said, and he hurled a beer in my general direction. It landed in the fire and exploded” (125). I love how deadpan that line came across. “One good depression memoir will pay for Sophie’s college and Sophie’s children’s college” (150). I’m pretty sure I laughed out loud. The entire book trailer scene is hilarious (pages 156-161). “Humans have something greater than religion, activism, and support groups: books” (233). Love, love, love. Although this wasn’t my favorite book, I enjoyed it and I highly recommend the author, Alan Good. His Twitter is also amazing and hilarious.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marcia

    I think the author needs anger management counseling! I did find some of his stories entertaining and, occasionally, even thoughtful. However, I got tired of his arrests, arrogance, and self-rightousness. Also, not a fan of the F-word. He has the talent to do better!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shaun

    Swear words, prairie dogs, latrinalia and a low speed bicycle chase. What's not to love? I was pleasantly surprised by this read. I rarely laugh out loud while reading, but found myself actually laughing multiple times. The humor of this book just appeals to me. The story is engaging and interesting and writing a novel from the point of view of an author required by his agent to write a memoir was a great choice. The memoir is basically a big 'middle finger' to the literary agent of the protagon Swear words, prairie dogs, latrinalia and a low speed bicycle chase. What's not to love? I was pleasantly surprised by this read. I rarely laugh out loud while reading, but found myself actually laughing multiple times. The humor of this book just appeals to me. The story is engaging and interesting and writing a novel from the point of view of an author required by his agent to write a memoir was a great choice. The memoir is basically a big 'middle finger' to the literary agent of the protagonist (is he a protagonist?). Sarcastic humor, ridiculous situations and a flurry for curse words? Sign me up. Give it a chance, you'll enjoy it if you don't take it too seriously.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

  9. 5 out of 5

    Yuli

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cerre

  11. 5 out of 5

    Caity

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pratiik

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kenney Broadway

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anne Carver Yates

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

  16. 5 out of 5

    Karen Anderson

  17. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mickey

  19. 5 out of 5

    Micielle

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melly Mel

  21. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mary A.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Edgar Connell

  24. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  25. 5 out of 5

    Libby

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stacia Chappell

  27. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Ann

  28. 5 out of 5

    Katharine Adams

  29. 5 out of 5

    Misty Buckley

  30. 5 out of 5

    mindy

  31. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Salvaggio

  32. 4 out of 5

    Carla

  33. 5 out of 5

    Debee Sue

  34. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

  35. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

  36. 4 out of 5

    Hayley

  37. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Bradley

  38. 4 out of 5

    Donna Barney

  39. 5 out of 5

    SHERRY

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