Sunday, March 2, 2014

Misdemeanor ManMisdemeanor Man by Dylan Schaffer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gordon Seegerman is a public defender in Santa Rita (most likely a code name for Oakland, California) specializing in misdemeanors. He is also the singer in the Mandys, a band that cultivates Barry Manilow's music. Sounds pretty unlikely combination, yet the author, Dylan Schaffer, an actual attorney with a long history of legal practice, makes it all work.

Mr. Schaffer's writing is first rate: terse and funny. His observations of the idiocy of the jury system in our country are deep and damning. Yet, to me, the best aspect of "Misdemeanor Man" is the portrayal of the early onset Alzheimer disease suffered by Mr. Seegerman's father. It is vivid, clinical, and deeply moving.

"Misdemeanor Man" is a very good book. I was even thinking about giving it five stars, but the ending degenerated a bit into TV-style fast action, where there was no need for that. Thank you, Mr. Schaffer, for doing a great writing job.

There are not many singers/musicians whom I despise more than Barry Manilow. I would need to be paid a lot to endure attending his concert. Yet Mr. Schaffer's writing is so skillful that for the duration of this book I was seeing Barry Manilow as an actual artist. Great job!

Four and a half stars.

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