Killing Lincoln, by Bill O’Reilly (and some other guy)

I’m never going to do that Harlequin Romance I keep promising, am I?

Jo: Patience, babies. Mama’s gonna review that book soon enough… as soon as Hellbrarian knows which one it is.

Fangzor: The broad reviews books? I thought it was just fatso over here that did that.

What is the snake still doing here? I thought I banned him for life.

Fangzor: I made myself an honorary resident critic of the library.

Only I can authorize that.



Yeah, well… anyway I’ve got something that’s on the bestseller lists.

Jo: Bestseller? Are you sure fangirls aren’t gonna come after you? We can be pretty dangerous in large numbers.

It’s by Bill O’Reilly. I doubt he has fangirls.

Jo: That’s even more dangerous. His fangirls have double-barreled shotguns!

Well, we’re already in hell, aren’t we? And we’ve got a talking snake that can make anyone walk away due to lack of interest.

Fangzor: Oh fuck you, you’re grounded!

You’re my father now?

Fangzor: GAH, you’re impossible. If anyone wants me I’ll be in the corner, harassing a cookie crumb.

Killing Lincoln, everybody. (I don’t like Bill O’Reilly that much, but I’m going to stay bipartisan here, for literature’s sake.)

"During a showing of 'Our American Cousin,' Abraham Lincoln laughed at a line of dia-- alright fuck it, WE'RE DOIN' IT LIVE!"

What page/chapter I survived until: Read it on Kindle up to about 12%, print length is 360-something pages

Boredom: 370 out of 500 video game breaks

Needless Description: 237 out of 500 meditative epiphanies on a petunia

In the place of the Cruddy Metaphors rating will be: Adjective Abuse: 500 out of 500 obscenely pitiful thermonuclear donkeys

Thematically, Just Plain Wrong: Thankfully, 0 out of 500 skinheads setting endangered rhinos on fire

Trial by Grammar and Spelling: 50 out of 500 ded heretix on da wheelz of fiya lol

The gist of it: Me Bill, that Lincoln, that Booth. Me good, Lincoln good, Booth FUCKING HORRIBLE.

All right, I won’t claim to be a history expert. In fact, my understanding of the Lincoln-Douglass debates is that they were really boring and they looked something like this:

"Oh boy, that would have been fun!"

Jo: You don’t know about the debates?

Not really.

Jo: Oh, that’s easy. See, Douglass had all these repressed sexual urges towards Lincoln–

I’m not looking for the fangirl angle on the situation. Anyway, I’m not a history major, but I do know how a history book should work, as do I know how a thriller should work. This book touts itself as a historical thriller, but the two genres seem to cancel each other out, and what’s left is Mr. O’Reilly (and his co-author gremlin he bought at Diagon Alley) expressing extreme frustration at the fact that he can’t go back in time and shove corkscrews in John Wilkes Booth’s ears.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at how a good historical book would have written the opening:

On March 4th, 1865, despite the intoxicated speech of his running mate, Abraham Lincoln gave his second inaugural address and took the oath of office.

It’s to-the-point and we get what happened right off the bat. This is good, because we’re going to have to take in a ton of this information.

So how doe the opening go?

The man with six weeks to live is anxious.

He furls [Jo: HIS BROW IS A FLAG?!] his brow, as he does countless times each day, and walks out of the Capitol Building, which is nearing completion. He is exhausted, almost numb.

Fifty thousand men and women stand in pouring rain and ankle-deep mud to watch Abraham Lincoln take the oath of office to begin his second term. His new vice president, Andrew Johnson, has just delivered a red-faced, drunken, twenty-minute ramble vilifying the South that has left the crowd squirming, embarrassed by Johnson’s inebriation.

So when Lincoln steps up to the podium and delivers an eloquent appeal for reunification, the spiritual message of his second inaugural address is all the more uplifting.

See that? That’s a man telling us what to feel, not showing us so that we can feel it for ourselves. For all I know, Andrew Johnson could have been a cool guy whose drink was spiked, and Abe might have missed the mark with an audience only clapping for tradition’s sake. We have to be the judge, not O’Reilly. It goes against everything writers have been taught.

"If I see any of you telling, I will shove bricks up your inbred nostrils."

It’s like this all the way through: we’re told who to love, who to hate, and who to feel sorry for, in a tidal wave of bad adjectives that threatens to pop out of my kindle and drown me in all the uses of “terrible.” It’s the most one-sided depiction I can recall of a national tragedy since I saw Fox news for the last time – oh, wait, this is a Fox news guy we’re talking about  I’M TOTALLY BIPARTISAN GUYS!

I mean, really – let’s say Bill O’Reilly wrote a book about Greek Mythology. Here’s how it would go.

When Zeus found out about Prometheus, his brow became a swimming pool of God sweat. He was angry beyond belief. He would have struck his wife but she had nothing to do with this. It was very tempting.

However, he did formulate a very well-laid-out and completely justified plan, that influentially would set the stage for many torture methods for years to come. He chained Prometheus to a rock, and told a crow, who was just doing his job, to pick out his liver for all eternity. Prometheus sat on the rock and whined, whined, whined – even though it was entirely his own fault for taking something without asking.

That was painful to write. It’s more painful to read. Stay away from it, for your own good.

Next Week: The shitfest that is Eat, Pray, Love

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