the back cover states: "one of the funniest, cruelest, and most savagely revealing books about american life ever written". for me the cruelty that drives this satirical novel makes the magic christian a daunting experience. for the record i also did not laugh in "there's something about mary" when ben stiller caught his penis and was in pain -- so if that made you laugh uproariously, this may be the book for you.
it is getting two stars because the writing was crisp and i enjoyed the opening train scenes of the book introducing guy grand, and the drawing room scenes with his aunts, and silly ginger. beyond that, the pranks that grand comes up with to test and torture people without resources like his are quite disgusting to me, and i didn't find them funny. also, once the recounting of grand's games begins each chapter ends in a very boring and predictable way. but who knows? on further reflection i may change it to one.
this book inspired the simpsons episode "homer vs. dignity" where mr. burns pay homer to be his prank monkey, toying with the idea that every man has his price.
tempted to move this to one star because i just remembered that my favourite line in the whole book was the opening quote, apparently the motto of the texas rangers:
"little man whip a big man every time if the little man's in the right and keeps a'comin'."