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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Gimme 15 Inches: Rants, Raves and Deadline-Driven Observations is a nonfiction collection of humorous columns and essays written by Dave Molter. In his About the Author section, Molter indicates that he’s a freelance writer of humor columns for the Observer-Reporter newspaper and a contributing writer for Dead Center Magazine. He has twice won the Keystone Press Award for Columns and was a nominee for the Golden Quill Award. Molter’s columns explore the crazy world of consumerism, ranging from the agelessness and unrealistic statistics of the Barbie and Ken dolls and the male outrage felt when the GI Joe action figure was shrunken and described as a doll, to the insanity of a toilet that costs over $6,000 and features forced-air drying. He pokes fun at Gerber’s Apocalypse Survival Kit, which comes complete with a lifetime warranty, and Jihawg Ammunition’s pork-infused bullets which are designed to really sock it to Islamic terrorists.
In his 1989 column, entitled Eenie, Meenie, Chili Beanie, Molter, thinking he’d been offered an opportunity to be “a celebrity judge at the Super Bowl of Chile,” finds he’s actually signed on to judge 50 of the world’s hottest chilis, complete with secret ingredients, and enough heat to have sent previous judges to the emergency room. And in "M Is for the Memories She Gave Me," he describes a mother who was always there to calm him after an altercation with his dad, a mom who helped him run away from home and whose picture shows her sticking her tongue out at the photographer. As Molter mentions in his introduction, I, like many others who open this book and begin reading, had little idea what I was setting myself up for. I got the meaning of the fifteen inches rather quickly, and while I do confess to having a rather limited sense of humor at best, I remembered how much I had enjoyed the columns of Art Buchwald and Erma Bombeck, and so I persevered. Gimme 15 Inches is a delight. As I read through Dave Molter’s engaging and outright funny columns, I recognized a kindred spirit and found it increasingly difficult to tear myself away from his stories. I kept on thinking, well, just one more.
This honest and infinitely human collection is a joy to read as the author weighs in on the silly things in modern culture and tech, and shares life growing up in the fifties and sixties of the last century. I especially enjoyed the two essays with which he concludes this collection: Childhood’s End and In My Life: How the Beatles Saved Me, and Everyone. And yes, while I was somewhat younger at the time, I can still remember that defining moment hearing that first Beatles song and how it did indeed change everything. Gimme 15 Inches is a must-read, something you don’t want to miss -- it’s most highly recommended.