‘Merciful Flush’ combines witty prose with cringe-worthy anecdotes

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Lance Manion’s second book, “Merciful Flush,” reads almost as though the
author is taking mundane everyday memories and tinkering with them a bit to
make for an interesting blog, which is how this book first started over five
years ago.

Each story in the compilation is its own and does not rely on the previous story to make sense, and it’s hard to tell if the stories are fiction, nonfiction or a blending of the two. It has a very Chuck Palahniuk feel to it. A few of the stories have moments of wittiness or humor, but others aren’t humorous at all, just a little bit sinister. Likewise, some of the stories are not all that
well written, but there are also a few that are done really well.

The start
of the book was very good at catching your attention. The first story, “Happy to Help,” is more witty and comical, and it makes for a good introduction to Manion’s humor. “Unconstructionalism” is beautifully written, pretty
funny and almost makes you want to sit down and ponder what you just read. 

“A Nice Hot Shower,” however, sort of makes you want to cringe and never take a hot shower again. It also
makes you wonder, was Manion on drugs? “Joy Ride” is another one of the questionable
stories, which describes a horrific memory
from his childhood in a joking manner, but you’re not sure if the story
is real or how you’re supposed to feel at the end of it.

The book has been compared to Tina Fey movies, ”Bridesmaids” and “The Hangover.” Being a fan of
those things, I expected to like this book much more than I actually did.

Manion
jumped from idea to idea and story to story so quickly, I had trouble paying
attention and keeping up. A lot of specific details are left out throughout the
book, so it is up to the reader to decide how the people and places in the book look, which is an interesting twist. The author description at the back of the book reads, “Lance Manion looks exactly how you want him to look.”

The book was good and
very creative, especially for someone who has had blogging success, but there were a lot of spelling and punctuation errors that I found distracting. The book has potential, but Manion really needs a good editor.

Would I recommend it? Probably not, unless you like creepy dark humor and books that change story lines
from chapter to chapter. If you are into a more edgy-funny rather than comical-funny, this might be the right book for you. I give “Merciful Flush” 2 out of 5 stars, and that’s saying a lot because I love to read.

Kelsie Johnson is a sophomore in journalism. Please
send comments to edge@kstatecollegian.com.

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