Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Spotlight: Four Corners Or a Book That Will Tickle Your Intellectual Nipple by Cary Smith

Title: Four Corners, Or a Book That Will Tickle Your Intellectual Nipple
Author: Cary Smith
Publisher: Shakespeare’s Fool
Pages: 255
Genre: Fiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

High school. Those two words, for some, instill fear and loathing and vivid memories of sadistic teachers, bullies, and bad lunches. For some happy few, however, high school remains a misty paradise, where a student's budding dreams and aspirations were nurtured by brilliant, sympathetic teachers, guidance counselors and peers.

Cary Smith, the nom de plume of Greg Hawkins, clearly falls into the first group, as he describes in his hilarious new book, FOUR CORNERS, OR A BOOK THAT WILL TICKLE YOUR INTELLECTUAL NIPPLE.  With a keen sense of the absurd, Smith thrusts his satirical sword straight at the jugular vein of all things pretentious and pedantic that haunt the halls of the educational world. Nothing is spared as Smith takes on the institution of secondary education. Readers will wince in recognition at the cast of characters Smith has created – the brains, jocks, bullies, cliques, incompetent teachers and pompous administrators – who all take a good drubbing from the flat side of Smith's sword.

“I don't know why I thought that when middle school was over that high school would be a brand new place, a fresh start,” Smith writes. “Maybe it was because all my teachers in middle school were implanting their lectures about how in high school the teachers wouldn't let you get away with this and that and that it would be a very different place. Well, as usual, the teachers of the system lied to me ...”

For good measure, Smith creates another archetypal character – Brad Cruise, a symbol of the pseudo-intellectual critics and pedagogues who inhabit academia. If you spotted Cruise's name as a mash-up of Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, that's what the author intended.

Hawkins also points out that, while Cary Smith is the “satirical narrator” of FOUR CORNERS, “what we come to find out is that not only does he have a humorous side, he has a serious side, and he does, in fact, care, despite what he may say.”

Although much of Smith's writing is clearly based in personal experience, Hawkins says the book is satirical fiction. The book's style is steeped in hyperbolic language and literary hi-jinx that hark back to the 18th-century comic classic TRISTRAM SHANDY.

“I wrote FOUR CORNERS to entertain people,” Hawkins says, “not only to help people get through the turbulent time that is high school in America, but to make people feel OK about the time they spent during those years.” He adds:  “There is no one, to my knowledge, writing with this type of narrator, about this subject matter, in such a style and manner, and writing humorously. It is very hard to find a good book with a blend of the serious and comedic.”

Book Excerpt:

I’m telling my story to show that I eventually realized that I don’t really believe what I had just said above^ about those so-called writers and that I eventually realized that they were only trying to get through this life, just like the rest of us (they just did it in a rich, elitist, boring way). They were only trying to tell a beautiful story, in a style that appeals to some, and doesn’t appeal to others (mainly everyone). A beautiful human attribute, the story. It’s a wonder how we’re soo good at it.
I realized that I’m just a friggin’ human too, and I was soo tired of thinking I was better than everyone (well, depending on the day. No, I’m just kidding. I think I’m better than you). Of course this took some time. The time thing is something that a lot of people in the country I grew up in just didn’t like.
Things had to be soo rushed and quick, and it just didn’t make any sense to me, and it still doesn’t. I figure the whole rushing thing in the country I grew up in is a big reason why there are soo many man/woman children (or I should say bad, sour children, because I don’t want to give a bad name to children) running around in the real world, <whatever the hell that means (Hippie talk, Hippie Dogma).
People, what people would call the literary types (such as The Bard, Sir Brad Cruise), just never seem to have that realization^ in their little Grubstreet communities (nap and sleepytime communities), and that’s why it took me soo long to even start writing my story. I mean, I’m writing, and those people run everything, so I figured I had no chance of people hopefully enjoying my story. Heck, I started now, though, and I feel pretty good about it.
So please continue on, but if you wanna stop now because you’re telling yourself, “Well, he just kinda told us everything,” then that’s understandable. Hey, at least you got to here. And there will be some very long occurrences of ( ) <these, and I apologize for that. I just get soo excited when I use them. My advice would be to just enjoy them (see Intermission #3) and to look at them as a nice break in my childish (what my human computer says, “Is that of an eight-year-old, or third-grade level”) writing. (And that will be the only time I quote my human computer, mainly due to the fact that he/she just doesn’t talk that much unless I force it too.)
Also, I must tell you that much of my story takes place in the inner public-school system, and if you’re expecting a sophisticated, intellectual story, then you’ve opened the wrong book. (No, I’m just kidding of course. I only wrote that for it to be maybe used and taken out of context in the future by private schools as a marketing tool for their schools.)
And, also, also, I don’t know what douchey advertising people have coined my generation yet—Gen. Video Gamers, Gen. Technorati’s, Gen. Damn You People Are Uninteresting—but I think we’re (<insert future lame generation name here instead of the we) pretty annoyed with douchey old people, who were just as much of douches when they were my age saying, “Oh, I just don’t know about the kids today. They’re soo apathetic and lazy.” Stick that up your butt, ’cause we’re fine. We’re all just hoping that our generation and the generations after us have less and less douches that start dumb at a young age and, when they get older, say, “The kids today are just not all right. I just don’t know about them,” and then publish an article about it because it’s their job as the modern heroes of sociology, psychology, and bad journalism. So leave us alone and let me apologize for all you people who say such douche bag things about a generation in its infancy. My apology goes like this: “We’re sorry that you never lived young, or were never young at heart, that you were sadly old, and not even a wise old while in your prime. It’s not our fault that you were a douche at heart at such a young age.” What a sad tragedy you are. (Minus 15 points for starting a sentence with and, and also, also. Not in MLA format, also known as Teaching-YOU-How-To-Be-A-Bad-Writer-Educators-Making-YOU-Proud. Education. <You’ll see this education thing a lot. This just means that I’m trying to embrace this whole format thing and this specific, certain way I’m supposed to write, to write the correct way, but I can’t seem to get around its apparent robotic poop, as my human computer is always trying to control my writing and move it in its own desired format, automatically switching my spelling of “soo” to “so,” which soo really pisses me off sometimes, and then I find myself psychotically screaming, “Goddmannn youuu Microsoft Word™.” The whole thing really reminds me of some squirmy professor who wishes the entire world were like him and wrote like him (see Intermission #3 for example). As if that type of person had designed the software in order to make everyone like him/her (Cary Smith is Feminist™-friendly). But, I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for organization (this writing here is pretty organized), but I’m not for it if it makes Cary a dull boy since Cary can’t play because he gets soo annoyed and tired of the red and green scribbly lines underneath his writing that he just stops altogether.
So I’ll be marking down points myself against myself for going against my computer’s desired format and the other formats and styles taught to me to make me a bad and dull writer, or for other reasons, so “education” means minus 15 points, which has nothing to do with you or any of your future grades, so don’t worry. It just means Cary caught himself being a bad boy, caught himself trying not to be such a dull boy. I also will not be writing my entire story using texting speech and grammar, sorry to disappoint you. But if Mark Twain were alive, I’m sure he would be able to do it.) TTYL.


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About the Author

Cary Smith, the nom de plume of Greg Hawkins, lives in San JoseCA. He became interested in books and writing because of a teacher. His favorite book is "Hocus Pocus," by Kurt Vonnegut or “100 Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He is currently either going to finish his collection of short stories next or turn one of his short stories into a novel, which would be a new take on the ghost genre.

Visit him on Facebook at 

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