Best to Laugh (Hardcover)
Univ Of Minnesota Press, 9780816694532, 296pp.
Publication Date: September 15, 2014
No one steps up to life’s banquet, holds out her tray, and orders, “Grief, please!” But as a child, Candy Pekkala was served a heaping helping of it. Every buffet line has a dessert section, however, and when a cousin calls with a Hollywood apartment to sublet, it seems as though Candy is finally offered something sweet. It’s good-bye to Minnesota and hello to California, where a girl who has always lived by her wits has a real chance of making a living with them. With that, the irrepressible Lorna Landvik launches her latest irresistible character onto the world stage—or at least onto the dimly lit small stage where stand-up comedy gets its start.
Herself a comic performer, Landvik taps her own adventurous past and Minnesota roots to conjure Candy’s life in this strange new Technicolor home. Her fellow tenants at Peyton Hall include a female bodybuilder, a ruined nightclub impresario, and a well-connected old Romanian fortune-teller. There are game show appearances and temp jobs at a record company and an establishment suspiciously like the Playboy Mansion, and of course the alluring but not always welcoming stage of stand-up comedy. As she hones her act, Candy is tested by humiliation, hecklers, and the inherent sexism that insists “chicks aren’t funny.”
Written with the light touch and quiet wisdom that have made her works so popular, this is classic Lorna Landvik—sometimes so funny, you’ll cry; sometimes so sad, you might as well laugh; and always impossible to put down.
About the Author
Lorna Landvik is the best-selling author of many novels including Patty Jane’s House of Curl, Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons, Oh My Stars, and most recently, Mayor of the Universe (Minnesota, 2014). She has performed stand-up and improvisational comedy around the country and is also a public speaker, playwright, and actor, most recently seen in an all-improvised, one-woman show Party in the Rec Room.
Praise For Best to Laugh: A Novel…
"Filled with historical lore about Hollywood’s glory days, inside observations about the chauvinism that pervades the comedy boys’ club, and a bevy of secondary characters straight out of central casting, Landvik’s homage to funny ladies everywhere is a joyful, breezy trip down memory lane." —Booklist
"Best to Laugh recounts real—poignant and laugh-out-loud funny—experience." —Star Tribune
"Best to Laugh has Landvik’s signature humor—a little corny, a lot sweet—and the sort of friends-become-family characters that defined her best-selling debut Patty Jane’s House of Curl. There is a Steel Magnolias-style of laugh-aw-cry-laugh likability to the tale and the 1970s-ness is so palpable, you can practically hear the whisper-walk of a woman’s silk pantsuit." —Duluth News-Tribune