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Book Review: Give Up: Life’s an Adventure for Most…a Concussion for You by Paul Koehorst and Ivor Jones

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You’ve seen them everywhere—framed motivational posters featuring sports and outdoor photographs, and words of encouragement. They’re in your doctor’s office, hanging over the desk of the supermarket manager, maybe even in your workplace. The photography subjects are usually striking, many of the photos are dramatic. They encourage us to be the best we can be…to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off…to succeed…to forgive…to shoot…to score… In short, they’re annoying.

Give Up Life’s an Adventure for Most…a Concussion for You is a collection of 150 demotivational posters, many of which parody the originals (and there are thousands of them!). Some are original concepts, and all tell us one thing: “A poster ain’t gonna make life right.”

Think of it. Which poster is more resonant:  “Opportunity: You will always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” or “Risk: 100% of the shots you don’t take don’t go in. Not that you can really shoot from the bench, anyway.” For whatever reason, most people will never have the opportunity to take a shot, no less score, so why go for pie in the sky when the unsubtle truth is so much more appropriate? And, really is it more likely that “destiny” is based on choices you make or the name of a stripper (“Destiny is not matter of chance. It’s a matter of choice” vs. “Destiny: If your husband always talks about ‘Destiny,’ keep in mind that it’s probably a stripper’s name and you’re probably paying for her real estate course”)? Having toured the French Quarter, I’ll go with choice “b.”

What am I saying? Give Up Life’s an Adventure for Most…a Concussion for You is a cynical look at life through the medium of demotivational posters. Some are very funny, some are so apt you must laugh. Few people will find every one of the 150 presented here hilarious, but there’s enough to strike a chord or allow you to experience a superior moment now and then. And a lot of them will simply make you laugh (sometimes adding “that’s so true” or “totally true,” depending on your age).

When I first read Give Up: Life’s an Adventure for Most…a Concussion for You, I wished that the pages were perforated so the mini-posters could be easily removed and framed. However, I found that the spine of the book breaks quite easily when scanning its pages (for review purposes only, of course), making the contents easy to remove.

Give Up: Life’s an Adventure for Most…a Concussion for You is the ideal book to have on the waiting room coffee table or to give as a gift to either your cynical friends or the ones wearing rose-colored glasses.  Cheapskates might want to buy it and take it apart, framing its pages and giving as gifts (or hints). Whatever the reasons for buying, it’s a fun book that appeals to a variety of humor readers. And you don’t want to miss the best entry: “Deja Vu.”

Bottom Line: Would I buy Give Up: Life’s an Adventure for Most…a Concussion for You? Oh, yeah. This is a keeper.

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