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One of the Guys Paperback – Aug 2000

23 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Perennial (HarperCollins) (Aug. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060931892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060931896
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,846,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Miles Derby, a desperate alcoholic barely keeping up with his child-support demands, transforms his life when he assumes the identity of a dead Navy chaplain, taking his place at sea and finding himself in the process. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Author

British readers are enthusiastic about this book
Yes, it's true that ONE OF THE GUYS has been getting a tremendous amount of media attention in America, along with an ethusiastic response from American readers, but I especially enjoy hearing from British readers. Ironically, it is the British readers who see, in ONE OF THE GUYS, my literary debt to the satires of Pynchon and Heller, while my countrymen rarely make the comparison to these American authors. ONE OF THE GUYS is a picaresque, descended from the earliest English novels. Miles Derry, the sometime rogue hero, has been reduced to working as a janitor in a pornography emporium after hours, so that he can make enough money to make his monthly child-support payment. One night in the arcade, he comes across a stiff (in ever sense of the word) who turns out to be a US Navy chaplain. Taking the chaplain's identity as a way out of his miserable life, Miles embarks on a seafaring adventure to the Far East, which will transform him, after several highly ironic and satirical twists, into a hero in every sense of the word. The book is not only a microcosm of modern society, but a comic indictment of it. Everyone who read the book in manuscript--my agent, my editor, my dad--did so in one sitting. It was great fun writing this novel, and I hope you enjoy traveling westward with Miles as much as I enjoyed getting this journey of self-discovery down on paper. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Sept. 1999
Format: Hardcover
Because I had reviewed another book on the Amazon pages, the author dropped me an e-mail recommending his book to me. The story line sounded quite curious - and because I also spent 20 years in the Navy - I thought I could be an interesting read. Well, I must say the premise and execution of the tale is funny and very entertaining, although I did anticipate the ending. What detracted from the story was the gross misrepresentation of the officers and sailors of the Navy. While I cannot deny parts of the book are probably accurate and gleaned from first hand information, the blantant sexual sterotypes both in personalities and behavior were totally unreal. Young says he spent a number of years as a civilian college instructor on board Navy ships. If he's drawing these "anecdotes" from personal experience then that's one ship the Navy would best do without. He uncovered every possible sailor fantasy from lurid orgies ashore in the Far East to midnight rendezvous aboard ship. Drinking binges and other illegal behavior for anyone in uniform. And all this reportedly happened in the years following the Gulf War - - at the time the Navy was reeling from the Tailhook debacle and launching into severe policitical and sexual correctness. But all that being said, Young writes an entertaining novel. If you can swallow the inaccurate, atypical portrayals of the main characters, then you'll enjoy the book.
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By A Customer on 25 July 1999
Format: Hardcover
One of the Guys (1999), is somewhat reminiscent of Jerzy Kosinski's Being There, brimming with comedy, poignancy, insight, surprises, shocks, and revelations.
One of the Guys is not for the prudish reader. The legendary profanity of the navy (or armed forces in general) is brought vividly to life throughout the novel. Profanity, colorful and creative, flows unstintingly from all-- Commanding Officers to lowly seamen. Body parts, body fluids and sex acts are all given prominent, lurid descriptions ala the frequently sexist, vulgar voices of men at sea. One of the Guys is probably not going to be read and discussed at too many refined literary social circles.
Equally distressing for some will be the view of the military presented in One of the Guys by Young. The men, officers and non, prey upon each other in sickening, dehumanizing fashion both verbally and physically, celebrate the fact that taxpayers are paying for their visits to sexual Disneylands at port, become the ugliest of "ugly Americans" ashore, shrug off miscalculations by the "boom boom boys" that lead to the accidental bombing of a Philippine village and the burning deaths of its inhabitants (saying a little additional foreign aid will cover it up), and resist with every inch of their bodies and souls any modernization of the military which includes political correctness or any kind of equity. It is a throwback to a sexist, racist, uncivil, world-unto-itself military in spite of the story being set well after the Gulf War.
Through it all, through the hell he observes and participates in both on the Harding and off, Miles begins to change.
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By A Customer on 19 July 1999
Format: Hardcover
Dear Bob, Your novel was nicely displayed at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park, under their employee's choice, no less. I read it first with mouth open and then was glued to each word. Actually, I became mesmerized. The book is constantly surprising and/or shocking and is breathtakingly paced. The characters are all rambunctious and just true enough to excite and disturb. And whether the pranks of the navy are true or not, I don't much care. I was hotly intrigued and laughed a lot and was often horrified. So much cum and no orgasms, at least by our 'hero.' Strange, but interesting. I assume he's very sexually dysfunctional. I would guess that were there one more chapter the chaplain's wife would complain about him as much as she did about her husband. But I don't think I'm supposed to think that. And yet that's the way the book should end. Because it ends so positively, with Miles seeming--however accidentally--heroic, I'm forced to wonder about the book's moral core. Typically, the doppleganger's original has committed a murder. The horror yours has committed is to be gay. Which is daring of you. And disturbing. Confusing too. Because though anyone might commit a murder, you can't just impulsively become gay. So I rooted for you to write yourself out of this dilemma. But you didn't. You just dropped the subject, except at the end at which point we guess the wife to be vomiting over homosexuality as has been Miles. Since you castigate nearly every other possible human type, I wouldn't make an issue out of this except that you did. For the first third of the book it's your major tension. After dropping the homosexual tension, you concentrate on the navy and/or the world, like Melville. 'The ship's a world on its voyage out,' I believe he wrote.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Although I'm not naturally drawn to satire, I found that I could not put ONE OF THE GUYS down. With insight, sensitivity, and skill, Robert Clark Young weaves together this multidimensional tale of self-discovery amid absurdities. He exhibits an incredible talent for drawing the reader not only into the physical aspects of a scene but also directly into a character's darkest experience-whether it be shame, numbness, cruelty, despair or desperation. What kept me moving through even the most difficult, albeit satirical, dark passages was the shimmering golden thread of possibility that there was something more just within, even if barely within, the hero's reach. Through his mastery of the craft of compelling storytelling, Young conveys the captivating sense of the hero's ever-increasing hope and therefore, by extension, our own, that despite the absurdities, or indeed perhaps because of them, we might just be able to dance our way through this life and have fun while we're at it. After all, nothing is precluded where "possibility and willfulness intersect..." (page 1, ONE OF THE GUYS). Young's recognition of and insight into, in the first place, and masterful intertwining of, in the second place, these incredibly intricate issues result in this powerful narrative.
An example of why I enjoy Robert Clark Young's writing so much: "Frost came down on his skin like the feeling of stepping into the Illinois night in February in shirtsleeves to set out the garbage and having the ice drizzle on his face as the wind got through his shirt like frozen hands running all over his skin. He was going with the marines in the morning. He was scared.
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