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Getting Even Mass Market Paperback – 1 Dec 1991

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Mass Market Paperback, 1 Dec 1991

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Random House USA Inc; Vintage Books ed edition (1 Dec. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394726405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394726403
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 1 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 920,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William Fross VINE VOICE on 23 Nov. 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is pretty much Woody Allen, really: lots of wisecracks and quips spread throughout rather disjointed little essays and stories.
I like some of it, but other parts left me rather puzzled- perhaps his aim. Take Death Knocks, a short play about a man visited by a rather unorthodox Death, which doesn't seem to lead anywhere in particular, and The Metterling Lists, which seems to be a parody or extended joke about something that I don't quite get (an essay examining a dead man's psychology through his laundry lists). These are examples of entertaining pieces which, though perhaps quite fun, are not really laugh-out-loud stuff. The comedy feels slightly outdated, to be honest.
On the other hand, stuff like the Schmeed Memoirs, the memoirs of a Berlin barber during World War 2 who witnessed Hitler and his cohorts arguing over their haircuts and so on, is quite funny.
Be warned, though, I think this book depends quite a bit on personal taste. If you're a Woody Allen fan, rather than a lukewarm admirer like me, you may enjoy this more than I did.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P. Lawler on 10 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
Great book. Very funny in all the subtle ways you wouldn't expect. A great introduction to Woody Allen's writing.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Monica on 13 Feb. 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Getting Even is a remarkable collection of Woody Allen's creative works of short sketches. The book is extremely humorous. It is a reminiscence of scenes from Allen's earlier films. Page to page I read, and page to page I laughed. That is how funny the book is.
I liked "Mr. Big" the most. Woody Allen's humor from absurdity is a unique twist in writing.
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By Jo jo on 24 Mar. 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 36 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
A Classic with HILARIOUS Woody Allen Essays 24 Jun. 2002
By Thor Vader - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Getting Even is brilliant. It is a short book collection of 17 of the funniest essays that Woody Allen has ever written. I found myself laughing out loud all over the place, and actually finished this book in two brief settings. I generally like to read 1-2 essays a day, but with each one, I wanted more.
Death Knocks is one of the essays in this book that really got me going. It was so damn funny. It felt like a funny version of Ingmar Bergman's Seventh Seal... where the person meant to die will not allow Death to take him. I loved it. A Look at Organized Crime was another absolutely hilarious essay written as you can imagine.
Finally The Gossage-Vardebedian Papers has got to be one of the funniest essays ever penned. It is the exchange of letters between two chess players as they try to make sense of a game that they are having through the mail. I'm telling you, my gut was bursting.
This is a great place to get started when reading Woody Allen novels. There are no plays contained within as are in his book Without Feathers, but the essays are of a much higher caliber. I know you are going to love this one. Happy reading!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Nothing Compares 1 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Nothing can compare to this book and also Side Effects and Without Feathers, by Allen. Dave Barry is funny (although not as funny in recent years). Douglas Adams is hilarious, but he writes novels. These "nonfiction" pieces and short stories by Woody Allen are the funniest things ever written. And if you're concerned because you don't like Woody's whining style in his stand-up and movies, be assured you can't do that in prose. They are two distinct styles and you probably wouldn't even know it was Woody if not for his name on the cover. Read at least one of Woody's three books -- or at least one story from one of these books. Make that one page. If you don't love it, you can put it back on the shelf and at least know you didn't let something fantastic slip by unread.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
As funny as as dated as the early Woody Allen comedies 19 Oct. 2005
By F. Orion Pozo - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Getting Even is one of three early collections of Woody Allen's short humorous articles. The others are Without Feathers and Side Effects. Many of the pieces in Getting Even appeared in magazines, mostly The New Yorker, but also Playboy, and Evergreen Review. While others first appeared in this anthology. In total, there are 17 articles in the collection. Considering that they were written over 35 years ago, there are some references that do not come across well today. Yet as a group they are still quite funny.

<u>The Metterling Lists</u> is a piece of satirical literary criticism of <u>The Collected Laundry Lists of Hans Metterling Vol. 1</u>, a supposedly scholarly work of 437 pages that analyzes the first six laundry lists. Fortunately Mr. Allen only takes seven pages to mock this fictional piece of scholarship.

<u>A Look At Organized Crime</u> provides a very brief history of organized crime in America including the murder of Kid Lipsky by Albert (The Logical Positivist) Corillo who locked Lipsky in a closet and "sucked all the air out through a straw." It also provides a description of a Mafia initiation ceremony and ends with some tips on fighting mobsters.

<u>The Schmeed Memoirs</u> are represented as the recollections of Hitler's barber. Yet they can't be taken too seriously because he claims he didn't know Hitler was a Nazi and thought he worked for the phone company. There is a funny where Hitler fears that Chruchill will grow sideburns before he can. It is humorous to view World War II from the perspective of Hitler's hair.

<u>My Philosophy</u> consists of the Critique of Pure Dread, the Eschatological Dialectics As a Means of Coping with Shingles, and The Cosmos on Five Dollars a Day. It ends with two Parables and a short list of Aphorisms.

<u>Yes, But Can The Steam Engine Do This?</u> provides a humorous take on the scientific research saga with a history of the Earl of Sandwich's research into developing the sandwich. Starting with his birth in 1718, the tale is filled with bread experiments, research into cold cuts and cheeses, and years of failures followed by his final success and lasting fame.

<u>Death Knocks</u> is a short play in which an inexperienced angel of death, who comes to claim Nat Ackerman's soul, is lured into a losing game of gin rummy and returns empty-handed.

<u>Spring Bulletin</u> is Woody Allen's satirical take on college course descriptions. It includes a course called Introduction to God which is described as "Confrontation with the Creator of the universe through informal lectures and field trips."

The next piece, a guide to the interpretation of Hassidic tales, includes tales like the following and Mr. Allen's interpretations of them.

A man journeyed to Chelm to seek the advice of Rabbi Ben Kaddish.

"Rabbi " the man asked, "where can I find peace?"

The Hassid surveyed him and said, "Quick, look behind you!"

The man turned around, and Rabbi Ben Kaddish smashed him in the back of the head with a candlestick. "Is that peaceful enough for you?" he chuckled.

There are six other tales and their interpretations in this piece.

<u>The Gossage-Varbedian Papers</u> tells the sad story of a chess game played at a distance via letters. The correspondence starts out with a missive from Gossage stating that one of his letters must have gotten lost in the mail since his chess board is set up differently than Verbedian's. The insults and the confusion worsen as the letters go back and forth. A must for any chess fan.

<u>Notes From The Overfed</u>, Mr. Allen claims, was inspired by reading Dostoyevski and a Weight Watchers magazine on an airplane trip. In it an Atheist is converted when he decides that, if God is everywhere, He must be in food. Then consuming everything in sight, he achieves sanctity and obesity through compulsive eating.

<u>A Twenties Memory</u> mocks the name-dropping memoirs of the post-war lost generation. Filled with references to Gertrude Stein, Picasso, Earnest Hemingway, Alice B. Toklas, and many others, a non-entity tries to gain fame by the shared light of his famous contemporaries.

In <u>Count Dracula</u> the famous vampire wakes up early due to confusion caused by a solar eclipse, and visits the baker and his wife for what he thinks is an evening snack with disastrous consequences.

In <u>A Little Louder, Please</u> a true afficionato of the arts confesses his one failing - an inability to understand the gestures of mimes.

<u>Conversations With Helmholtz</u> consists of notes taken by the student of a famous elderly psychoanalyst of their conversations together. Senility has certainly gotten the better of the older man, but his reputation and fame keep the younger man from realizing this with humorous results.

<u>Viva Vargas</u> is subtitled Excepts From The Diary of A Revolutionary, and reveals much of the same humor that the author later used in the movie Bananas.

<u>The Discovery And Use of The Fake Ink Blot</u> provides a humorous social history of a device used in practical jokes.

The last story in the volume, <u>Mr. Big</u>, is my favorite. It is narrated by a Philip Marlowesque detective who is hired by a lovely woman claiming to be a Vassar student. She wants him to find a missing person, God. The mixture of Raymond Chandler's format with the existential search for the meaning of life is extremely funny even after the passage of many years.

All in all, if you like the early Woody Allen movies, you will love this book - even though some of the material is no longer as fresh.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Allen's Raw material 22 Jan. 2003
By R. J. Marsella - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading this is like participating in Allen's creative process since many of the short sketches here are reminiscent of scenes from Allen's earlier films. Very funny stuff that had me laughing out loud. However it's best to read this and imagine Woody Allen's voice is telling the stories, it makes them even funnier. Not all of the sketches work as well as others but when he's on the sketches are hysterical. A very short collection of Woody Allen shorts.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
love, lies, and gin rummy 20 Jun. 2011
By R. McOuat - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Getting Even" is a compilation of exceptional short stories that chronicle Woody Allen's transition from variety show writer to stand-up comedian. He ended 50s as one of the horses in an amazing stable of writers on "Your Show of Shows" that included Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, and Carl Reiner. Showcasing his patented wry humor, the stories in "Getting Even" have the post-vaudevillian variety show feel to them. He lampoons intellectual, philosophical and psychological traditions and especially enjoys exploiting the old Jewish stereotypes. Each story is fast paced and peppered with one-liners and guarantees at least one good chuckle. An entertaining book that is rife with painfully accurate insights into the absurdities of our everyday life.
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