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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In #MeAsWell: A Novel by Peter Mehlman, Arnie Pepper once had the sports world in the palm of his hand. For 39 years, Pulitzer award-winning sports journalist Arnie has lived an extraordinary life, rubbing shoulders with the world's top athletes, but now his world is falling apart. An innocent comment made in private has hit the social media platform, 'Instant Graham', and gone viral. He faces losing everything; his job at the Washington Post, his reputation and the respect of his beloved daughter. As Arnie battles to clear his name, he faces an internal struggle of self-loathing and pessimism about his future. Arnie doesn't understand the world anymore and how dangerous his innocent behavior can seem to others. He longs to return to the uncomplicated world he once knew when he was just Arnie Pepper and not a misogynistic predator. Will Arnie be able to redeem himself and change his behavior according to the new rules of a politically correct society, or will the world finally come to its senses?
#MeAsWell: A Novel by Peter Mehlman is such a great example of observational humor. The book exposes the madness of society's judgment of others, where an innocent comment or action can ruin a reputation. No subject matter is off-limits and even some famous Hollywood names are in the firing line. The characters are superb, every one of them realistic and three-dimensional with vivid personalities. Jillian was my favorite as she seemed to understand Arnie's mindset better than anyone else. The relationship between Arnie and his daughter was so endearing and it showed a different side to Arnie's character. Arnie's internal dialogue was a brilliant way to expose his view of the world. This is the funniest book I have read for a long time; there are some scenes that I didn't want to laugh at because of the subject matter, but the context of the joke made it impossible not to. I loved the Liam Neeson comment as Arnie spoke to Bruce, his description of his late wife and his general view of people and society. Although this book is extremely funny, the storyline has great depth and substance. By the end of the novel, I completely understood Arnie and the events that led to him being the man he was and I was completely rooting for him.