Memoir of a Nerd

Humorous Essays and Short Stories

Non-Fiction - Humor/Comedy
179 Pages
Reviewed on 07/12/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Memoir of a Nerd: Humorous Essays and Short Stories by Hank Mancini is a hilarious memoir that made me think about the fun, carefree moments of my childhood, formative years, and early adult life when it was not considered abuse to prank people. This book is filled with hilarious and humorously told stories. Some of these stories include the camping experience the author had with his friend George and how they ended up meeting a girl called Barbara, who stirred feelings that remained eight hours after. Follow him with his friends, George, Jim, and Bob, as they return from a day at The Pike in Long Beach after riding the Cyclone Racer over and over and the roller coaster as many times as they could, and then playing a prank that left him stranded, walking a long distance home.

There are hilarious stories, pranks, and absurd situations ingeniously written that will entertain any reader. Mancini captures situations from his life, from pranking a delivery man to the exciting and funny moments with his boss, Bob, and the boss’s wife, Joann, and a lot more. He writes with wit and intelligence, keeping each story short and pithy. When you finish one of his stories, the humor and the beauty of it will linger on as you move to the next one. The writing is hugely observant, and the descriptive nature of the prose will irresistibly pull in readers. This book is a rare gift of humor that will give anyone a good laugh. Memoir of a Nerd: Humorous Essays and Short Stories by Hank Mancini offers the break we need from the stress and the doldrums of today’s hectic lifestyle.

Lucinda E Clarke

In Memoir of a Nerd, Hank Mancini does not chronicle his life story; instead, his book is a collection of moments he has experienced, and the pranks he's played including some rather embarrassing moments. It’s a series of short chapters on a number of topics and memories. He includes clear explanations of life some decades ago, reminding younger readers of the days before cell phones, the internet, and other modern inventions. The early stories recount some questionable tricks during his school days and then his introduction to photography. His days looking for love, as he says in all the wrong places, are very funny, and then the narrative takes us to Japan, where Hank was a Mormon missionary for two years. Living in California, it was close enough to Las Vegas to gamble, driving there and back without sleep on a weekend. The author took many chances over the years yet survived to tell his story.

I particularly loved the First Baby Picture story and laughed out loud, but a few fell a little flat for me as I guess it was a "you had to be there" scenario. Despite many close calls, the author has retained his sense of humor, possibly from writing all those boring manuals? Memoir of a Nerd flowed well, is a good choice for an afternoon on the beach, and will bring back memories – particularly if you live in America. For readers who were also born in the 1940s and 50s, it's a wake-up call for how life has changed so radically in such a short time. I’m not sure I would describe Hank Mancini as a nerd, just a young man of his times who lived life to the fullest and went on to a very successful career.

Joe Wisinski

Memoir of a Nerd: Humorous Essays and Short Stories is a collection of brief anecdotes. Almost all are meant to be humorous, and they are. Author Hank Mancini is a prankster, and many of the stories are accounts of pranks he played on his unsuspecting victims. One story is about when a prank was played on him. Mancini’s book is also an account of life in the USA in the 1950s and the story of the 2 1/2 years he spent in Japan. Mancini also writes about his attempts, with varying degrees of success, to date women. Much of the book tells of old-fashion innovations such as drive-in movie theaters, iceboxes, camera film that needed to be developed, and much more Although there’s room for imaginative storytelling in a book like this one, it appears that Mancini gives a mostly verbatim account of the incidents.

I enjoyed this book and laughed out loud at many of the stories. As I mentioned, one of the many pranks author Hank Mancini tells about is one played on him, and I’m going to be tempted to play that Mr. Behr prank on someone myself. I was also moved by one story that was about an extremely serious issue. Because I’m only a few years younger than Mancini, I delighted in his reminiscences of the 1950s, including the story of sneaking friends into a drive-in movie in the trunk of a car, which I also did. Those who are too young to remember the mid-1900s will learn about life in their parents’ or grandparents’ time. Memoir of a Nerd: Humorous Essays and Short Stories is a fun read and a good book to have on your bedroom nightstand.