Chances are if you know Dave at all, it's either from his retired humor column or the Harry Anderson sitcom Dave's World (where I was first introduced to the hilarious Patrick Warburton).
I ended up reading three Dave-penned or Dave-related books in the past month:
- Peter and the Starcatcher - The Annotated Script (by Rick Elice)
- The Worst Class Trip Ever
- Live Right and Find Happiness (Although Beer is Quicker)
The first one is the script to a play adapted from Dave's series of Peter Pan prequels he co-wrote with Ridley Pearson. I think a lot of people sought a new series of books to read after getting into Harry Potter. The Starcatcher books were mine, thanks to my love for both Dave Barry and Peter Pan. When I first heard about the stage adaptation I could only think how appropriate it was, as J.M. Barrie's original Peter Pan adventures were chronicled on the stage. To finally experience the result, in any format, was a considerable pleasure. Obviously a lot of heart was put into the production, and because the script came with notes, I got to find out how it all came together.
Worst Class Trip Ever was Dave's most recent work of fiction, released early last summer. As with the Starcatcher books it's aimed at young readers (although that hardly stopped me). And as with his other works of solo fiction, it's a madcap adventure. His first novel, Big Trouble, was adapted into a movie starring Tim Allen.
Live Right and Find Happiness is Dave's latest book of humor, in the style of what you may have read when he was regularly reprinting his columns and/or releasing entirely original work. Both these last two were released in a year where I needed someone like Dave Barry to lighten the mood. Just knowing they were there helped me, and to read them was even better. Live Right features a slightly more reflective Dave, a slightly more mature Dave that has been emerging in his more recent work.
I'll remain a fan regardless, but these were hopefully books that represent Dave's path to enduring cultural relevance. As someone who lives mostly in the printed word, and who bypassed the ways later humor writers made their names, Dave sometimes seems like he got lost in the shuffle. But he's a treasure, in ways other humorists could only dream about. Compared to the ones on TV or in the movies, his appeal will need little translation in the future. Dave's becoming timeless.
At least as far as I'm concerned. He'll always be one of my treasured writers. And easiest recommendations.