Were you bullied when you were a kid? Did your favorite daydream back then involve some farfetched scenario in which you got even with the bully who took such pleasure in tormenting you – preferably by causing that bully at least twice the amount of physical pain and mental anguish you suffered at his hands? Well, friend, I have just the book for you.
Steven Drew Goldberg’s One Last Thing to Do before I Die is a dark comedy, one that will have you laughing out loud despite the fact its main character, Max Wiseman, is determined to kill himself as soon as he can. Max, a young NYC prosecutor, might seem to have it all. He, after all, is worth every bit of ten million dollars and he works some of New York’s highest profile criminal prosecutions. He drives a $100,000 car and tells time by a $10,000 watch. Come on, he can look out his apartment window and see the Statue of Liberty. Can it get much better than this? Max will argue that, yes, it surely can - and it should.
Max, although he is not particularly religious, does have one guiding principle upon which he centers his life: The Golden Rule, a simple but solid premise with great potential for good. Unfortunately for Max, very few of the people he encounters every day seem to have even heard of that rule, much less practice it, and he has grown weary of living in a world where his most common thought is, “What is wrong with people?” He sees little chance that his future years will be any happier than the ones he has already suffered through, so he is ready to end it all now. But Max has one last thing to do before he makes his dramatic exit – find Derrick Frankenmeyer, the jerk that, as a twelve-year-old, terrorized the younger and much smaller Max Wiseman for several weeks during what turned out to be Max’s personal summer camp from hell.
For readers, if not for Max, getting there is half the fun. Along the way to confront his personal bogeyman, Max will have adventures and misadventures in Houston, Albuquerque, a remote farm in Oklahoma, and along old Route 66. He will be forced to deal with enough illogical airline clerks, rent-a-car clerks and hotel clerks to last a lifetime, so many, in fact, that he grows more certain that killing himself is the only way to go. The real question is what will happen when he finally catches up with the infamous Derrick Frankenmeyer. And not even Max knows the answer to that.
This one is great fun, my fellow bully-victims. I only wish the bullies of the world could read well enough to learn something from One Last Thing to Do before I Die, too. (Just kidding, bullies…)
Rated at: 4.0
(Review Copy provided by Publisher)