Outside the Box
July 2012, ASIN B007E2M4LK
Review copy from the author
"Preston Randall isn't trying to rewrite Twilight to suck up some of the left over teen money. He's not pumping out that sequel to The Illiad that everyone is beating down the bookstore doors to get - heck he's not even trying to concoct the great American novel. He's just got his Fruit-Of-The-Looms in a twist and wants to spew out a few dozen pages about it. And what is he on about? Commercials, flyers, adverts of all kinds and just the general detritus we all must wade through every single day to live in a modern global economy. That's all. And, well, he's had it. He takes on one dimwitted advertiser after another - with the most moronic of claims - and feeds them a heaping helping of their own blather. Praising their absolute ineffectiveness and ineptitude - while offering delightful testimonials that only their detractors could enjoy. It makes for a work that is simple, witty, silly and yet oddly cordial and illuminating... certainly a really fun read. No great investment required, just leaf through until Preston starts in on one of the dolts you really wish you'd sent a letter to - and enjoy his take on it. Please read 'em and weep - with tears of lol-ing."
Preston’s book, Letters I Wish I Had Sent, is exactly that: a collection of funny, unsent letters he wishes he had sent to various companies.
As a disclaimer, I had the pleasure of reading Preston’s book because it’s featured in the alpha launch of my startup, Write or Read, which will provide metrics and insights to authors of self-published ebooks.
Letters is comprised of 26 letters, each meant for a different advertiser, corporation, neighbor, TV critic, and more. The letters are short, only a few paragraphs each, and the whole book can be read in a single sitting.
Some of the letters are little harsher and more sarcastic than others. But overall this is a collection of witty messages that remark on situations or observations I think many people could relate to.
One of my favorites is the letter to the Florida Highway Patrol, where Preston writes how helpful a police officer was when he pulled them over for making an illegal turn:
It was especially nice given the confusion that occurred with the road signage. But what a lucky coincidence you happened to be parked behind a nearby billboard, and better yet, were watching at precisely the right moment. After all, I was clearly confused to see a somewhat faded turning arrow painted on the road at the same point the road signage indicated the turn was illegal. But you cleared it up nicely with one simple question, “CAN’T YOU READ?”
Other letters outright make fun of a company, such as the one to the Delta Laser and Skin Care Centre. Preston writes that he has a “large ugly gaping hole” in his midsection, and that he would like to use Delta Laser’s services to remove his small imperfection that has caused him “a ton of embarrassment and trauma over the years.”
And some letters give the addressee ideas for how to improve their products, such as the letter to Gillette that suggests they make an iBlade that includes an MP3 player.
Another of my favorites is the letter to Shaw Cable TV, Internet and Telephone Service. Preston “puts on hold” the customer service representative he is writing to, telling him to “Please stay on the line. We are experiencing a high volume of letters at the moment and will resume this letter at the earliest available opportunity.” These requests to please stay on the line are broken up by various references to musical interludes.
Overall, Letters I Wish I Had Sent is droll and an entertaining read. At times the letters felt a bit personal, but for the most part they cover topics and issues a lot of people have experienced. I recommend this book to anyone who feels like having a laugh.