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Review: Allan Weisbecker's Can't You Get Along With Anyone?

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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Contrary to the “surf at all costs” attitude and exploratory nature of his previous work (In Search of Captain Zero), Allan Weisbecker’s newest memoir Can't You Get Along With Anyone? treads a much different and at times more unsettling path.
Set in the Central American surfing “paradise” of Pavones, the reader finds Weisbecker settling down just after completion of the …Captain Zero journey. Life couldn’t be better. What could be better than being a successful author and surfer living with the love of your life a mere stone’s throw from one of the longest and warmest left points on the planet?

Based on the events that transpire in CYGAWA, things could be a lot better. In fact, things couldn’t get much worse.

Beginning as a memoir of self-reflection but transmuting into a fevered rant of self-refraction and even self destruction, Weisbecker’s engaging narration moves at a frantic pace, peering into the swarthy underbelly of the Pavones surf scene, uncovering greed and treason among locals and ex-patriots alike, struggling with a sociopathic soul-mate, investigating a murder, ducking hit men, and all the while negotiating movie and screenplay deals with the likes of Sean Penn and John Cusack.

Weisbecker is brutally honest and chronically unapologetic from the start, but as the story unfolds, his voice changes; slowly degrading at times into an almost unreliable narrator, riddled with paranoia and hysteria (for real reasons you won’t expect). The old Woody Allen adage comes to mind: “Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not after you.” At this point, this narrative exudes the intrigue of a psychological thriller while still based in a memoir's reality.

On one level, CYGAWA is a fast-paced memoir in which the author savagely jabs at the world around him while his own inward decline pours forth over the page; however, on another level, Weisbecker also chronicles the actual writing process itself, periodically stepping out of the narration like Vonnegut to pull the curtain on his life as a writer, giving a somewhat morose albeit very honest glimpse into the creative process.

Surfing is still a vital part of the story, although this time it’s more cursory. Weisbecker’s languid description of the surfing experience highlights what happens when problems on land intrude with one’s surfing state of mind. To state more simply, if it’s messing with your surfing, then it must be serious. And circumstances get really serious in Weisbecker’s life, eventually spiraling into some serious chaos and some serious darkness and even serious threats to his life.

Bottom Line: Can’t you Get Along with Anyone? is a fast-paced, edgy memoir, and its power lies in its very genre. Although a memoir, the events read like gripping fiction of the highest order. As a reader, you will ask yourself, “How can all this possibly be true? Weisbecker responds to this possibility with a plethora of evidence and support for all aspects of his memoir in his E-zine at Bandito Books.

As the story progresses, the narrator’s seemingly unstable mind state blends a level of psychological torment into an unconventional memoir structure. It is intense and engaging, but is a departure in tone from the author’s previous work.

If you want to venture further "out there" and into Weisbecker's mind, check out his free E-zine.

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