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It Won't Always Be This Great: A Novel
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Published:
Bancroft Press 2014
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Description

In the crushing complacency of suburbia, mid-life crises pop in unannounced on men's lives. For one Long Island podiatrist, it takes an impromptu act of vandalism just to make him aware of his own being. Walking home in the sub-zero wind chill of a Friday night, he stumbles on a bottle of horseradish and mindlessly hurls it through the window of a popular store selling clothes to over-sexed tweens. This one tiny, out-of-character impulse turns his life upside-down, triggering waves of terrifying fear, crooked cops, and charges of anti-Semitism.

The story is told by this same podiatrist, an endearingly wide-eyed and entirely nameless narrator, to what he regards as the perfect audience: a comatose college friend. Yet, our narrator's most unique quality lies simply in his glowing love for his wife Alyse, the girl of his dreams whom he met in college and still can't quite believe he managed to marry. She is the mother of his two children, Esme and Charlie, who are just starting to come into their own minds and experiencing their first encounters with prejudice.

Prior to the bottle-throwing incident, our narrator had just enough going on in his own life to keep him interested. Now friends and neighbors push his intrigue-filled existence into wildly unpredictable places, especially nineteen year old Audra Uziel, a long-time patient who's brilliant, rebellious, and sexy, with a taste for happily married men.

And oh: Audra also happens to be the daughter of Nat Uziel, self-proclaimed community patriarch whose store window the infamous horseradish bottle demolished. Always on the lookout for anti-Semitism, Nat doesn't know the true culprit but doesn't let that stop him from loudly whipping his world into a frenzy, forcing our narrator into hiding in plain sight.

Pushed to the edge by his own desires, despairs, and disappointments, our narrator is about to find out what it's like to become a criminal, and what his crucifyingly dull neighborhood looks like in the midst of continuing controversy.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
9/15/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781610881371
ASIN:
B00MP3UJRO
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Peter Mehlman. (2014). It Won't Always Be This Great: A Novel. Bancroft Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Peter Mehlman. 2014. It Won't Always Be This Great: A Novel. Bancroft Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Peter Mehlman, It Won't Always Be This Great: A Novel. Bancroft Press, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Peter Mehlman. It Won't Always Be This Great: A Novel. Bancroft Press, 2014. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        After graduating from the University of Maryland, Peter Mehlman, a New York native, became a writer for the Washington Post. He slid to television in 1982, writing for SportsBeat with Howard Cosell. From 1985-90, he returned to forming full sentences as a writer for numerous national publications including The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Esquire, and a multitude of women's magazines due to his advanced understanding of that gender.

        One year after moving to Los Angeles, he wrote The Apartment, the first freelance episode produced by Seinfeld. Over the run of the show, Mehlman rose to executive producer and coined such Seinfeld-isms as "yada yada," "spongeworthy," "shrinkage," and "double-dipping."

        In 1997, Mehlman joined DreamWorks and created It's like, you know..., a scathing TV look at LA. In recent years, he's written screenplays and humor pieces for NPR, Esquire, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, several of which were published in his book, a collection called Mandela Was Late. In addition, he has also appeared on-camera for TNT Sports and the Webby-nominated Peter Mehlman's Narrow World of Sports.

        He lives in Los Angeles. This is his first novel.

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shortDescription

In the crushing complacency of suburbia, mid-life crises pop in unannounced on men's lives. For one Long Island podiatrist, it takes an impromptu act of vandalism just to make him aware of his own being. Walking home in the sub-zero wind chill of a Friday night, he stumbles on a bottle of horseradish and mindlessly hurls it through the window of a popular store selling clothes to over-sexed tweens. This one tiny, out-of-character impulse turns his life upside-down, triggering waves of terrifying fear, crooked cops, and charges of anti-Semitism.

The story is told by this same podiatrist, an endearingly wide-eyed and entirely nameless narrator, to what he regards as the perfect audience: a comatose college friend. Yet, our narrator's most unique quality lies simply in his glowing love for his wife Alyse, the girl of his dreams whom he met in college and still can't quite believe he managed to marry.

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title
It Won't Always Be This Great
fullDescription

In the crushing complacency of suburbia, mid-life crises pop in unannounced on men's lives. For one Long Island podiatrist, it takes an impromptu act of vandalism just to make him aware of his own being. Walking home in the sub-zero wind chill of a Friday night, he stumbles on a bottle of horseradish and mindlessly hurls it through the window of a popular store selling clothes to over-sexed tweens. This one tiny, out-of-character impulse turns his life upside-down, triggering waves of terrifying fear, crooked cops, and charges of anti-Semitism.

The story is told by this same podiatrist, an endearingly wide-eyed and entirely nameless narrator, to what he regards as the perfect audience: a comatose college friend. Yet, our narrator's most unique quality lies simply in his glowing love for his wife Alyse, the girl of his dreams whom he met in college and still can't quite believe he managed to marry. She is the mother of his two children, Esme and Charlie, who are just starting to come into their own minds and experiencing their first encounters with prejudice.

Prior to the bottle-throwing incident, our narrator had just enough going on in his own life to keep him interested. Now friends and neighbors push his intrigue-filled existence into wildly unpredictable places, especially nineteen year old Audra Uziel, a long-time patient who's brilliant, rebellious, and sexy, with a taste for happily married men.

And oh: Audra also happens to be the daughter of Nat Uziel, self-proclaimed community patriarch whose store window the infamous horseradish bottle demolished. Always on the lookout for anti-Semitism, Nat doesn't know the true culprit but doesn't let that stop him from loudly whipping his world into a frenzy, forcing our narrator into hiding in plain sight.

Pushed to the edge by his own desires, despairs, and disappointments, our narrator is about to find out what it's like to become a criminal, and what his crucifyingly dull neighborhood looks like in the midst of continuing controversy.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist Starred Review
      • content: "This very entertaining novel (it should be entertaining: it’s written by a longtime Seinfeld writer) is a shining example of non-sequential storytelling...The book is full of questions that don’t get answered right away (even the identity of the person to whom the narrator is speaking is clouded in mystery), and it features, like life itself, a story that seems simple enough until you really get into it. This is Mehlman’s first novel, and it’s wonderful.”
      • premium: False
      • source: —Julia Louis-Dreyfus, star of HBO's Veep, and of Seinfeld
      • content: “It turns out that not only can Peter Mehlman write funny television, he can write a funny book. Who knew?"
      • premium: False
      • source: —Aaron Sorkin, Academy and Emmy-award winning screenwriter, producer
      • content: "Anyone who writes for television gets frustrated that they can't write like Peter Mehlman. Now he's going to make novelists mad too. Mehlman’s writing style is completely unique, and creates an intimate bond between the narrator and the reader. You finish the book feeling as though you’ve made a new friend.”
      • premium: False
      • source: —Soderbergh, film producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, and director
      • content: "The Peter Mehlman I met in person years ago cannot be the same Peter Mehlman who wrote this brilliantly funny, effortlessly insightful, and unexpectedly moving book. Somebody please tell me which Peter Mehlman I'm supposed to be raving about because I really want to get this blurb right."
      • premium: False
      • source: —Madeleine Brand, host of the news and culture show Press Play on KCRW-FM
      • content: "Peter has an uncanny knack for pinpointing the absurdities of our petty bourgeoisie. It Won’t Always Be This Great is funny, astute, and disarmingly humane."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        September 8, 2014
        Given that Mehlman is a former writer for Seinfeld, it's no surprise to find his first novel powered by an irresistibly irreverent tone and relentless observational humor about the mundaneness of everyday life. The unnamed narrator, a lovable but neurotic 51-year-old podiatrist who's still in love with his wife after decades of marriage, experiences a brief moment of rage while walking home through his largely Jewish Long Island town during Shabbos. After stumbling over a bottle of horseradish and twisting his ankle, he hurls the bottle through the window of a clothing store. The unnoticed act of vandalism takes on new meaning when the store's owner, one of the town's more prominent Orthodox Jews, suspects that it's an act of anti-Semitism and wants the powers that be to prosecute it as a federal hate crime. The story becomes exponentially more complicated (and comical) after a bigoted artist is arrested for the crime and the FBI is brought in to investigate. Equal parts moral dilemma, subtle social commentary, and journey of self-discovery, Mehlman's tale of a man forced outside the comfort zone of his "respectable, decent, low-impact, relaxed-fit, gluten-free world" is both laugh-out-loud funny and deeply moving.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from September 1, 2014
        After a sequence of events leaves him walking home after work, a Long Island podiatrist stumbles over an object on the ground and hurts his ankle. In a moment of anger, he hurls the object, a small jar of horseradish, through the window of a clothing store. So begins our narrator's quirky odyssey into the depths of his own psyche. This very entertaining novel (it should be entertaining: it's written by a longtime Seinfeld writer) is a shining example of nonsequential storytelling; the narrator is relating the events of the incident and its aftermath to a friend, but chronologically he's all over the map, as one thing sparks a memory of something else, and the narrator is suddenly relating an episode that took place years earlier. This isn't as difficult to follow as it might soundin fact, as our podiatrist digs deeper into his story, we begin to see its various threads reaching back into time and realize how the past is connecting to the present. The book is full of questions that don't get answered right away (even the identity of the person to whom the narrator is speaking is clouded in mystery), and it features, like life itself, a story that seems simple enough until you really get into it. This is Mehlman's first novel, and it's wonderful.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

subtitle
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popularity
43
publisher
Bancroft Press
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