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Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just May Not    by Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello & Stephen Colbert order for
by Amy Sedaris
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Considering that the authors of Wigfield are comedy writers - they developed two separate series for Comedy Central as well as numerous other comedic works - I expected a funny book. I was not disappointed. Normally, I find a whole book dedicated to humor to fall flat after the first fifty or sixty pages, as I become jaded by too many jokes too quickly. However, this one kept up its pace and readability and engendered loud guffaws from page one to the end.

Wigfield is a spoof about a wannabe writer commissioned by Hyperion to write a book on the dying small towns of America. He journeys to Wigfield in search of the 50,000 words he needs to fulfill his contract. Looking for the heart of America in small towns, he finds instead a dying - literally - town with three mayors (one who must be tied in his chair!) There are three sheriffs, one who is openly a pyromaniac, various topless and nudie joints with imaginative names, and dead bodies showing up with disturbing frequency.

The town was settled on top of toxic waste sites and in front of a concrete dam that is due to be destroyed by the state government. How to benefit by the state's decision is the main topic of interviews conducted by the budding author. The town's citizens are each one of a kind, and not to be missed. In case the reader can't conjure up a picture of these demented characters, photographs accompany the text.

Read this book slowly. Savor it. Enjoy the subtleties and nuances and clever wording. 'Why are America's small towns fading like autumn leaves on the branches of America's proud pine tree?' The interview the author has with himself leads to an argument. It's sheer lunacy, but great fun. Read it on a gloomy day to bring brightness into your life.

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