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Starbuck O'Dwyer, a native of Rochester, NY and a graduate of Princeton, Oxford and Cornell, writes novels, essays, short stories, screenplays and music under his given middle name. His critically-acclaimed debut novel, Red Meat Cures Cancer (Random House/Vintage Books), appeared on several best-seller lists, won two national writing awards for humor and was a featured selection of the 2007 One Book One Vancouver reading program. His writing, which has been described as comic genius by Kirkus Reviews, has been published in forums as diverse as Entertainment Weekly, Flaunt, Toro, Japanophile, The Journal News, PW Daily, and the Boston Globe, and he has appeared on over 350 radio and television programs including guest spots on ESPN, WGN, Voice of America and PBS. His collection of stories, How to Raise a Good Kid, a finalist in the 2012 Indie Reader Discovery Awards (parenting), a finalist in the 2011 Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards (essays, humor), and a perennial #1 category best-seller in China, has been translated into Afrikaans, German, Chinese, Norwegian and Portuguese, and is being translated into Dutch, Spanish and Italian. Similarly, his second novel, Goliath Gets Up, a finalist in the 2012 Indie Reader Discovery Awards (humor) has been translated into Chinese and is presently being translated into Spanish, French and Portuguese. His most recent story collection, High School Dance, a gold medalist in the 2016 Global Ebook Awards (non-fiction humor/comedy) and a finalist in the 2016 Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year Awards (non-fiction humor), reached #1 on the Amazon kindle best-seller list in both the Humor & Entertainment and Parenting & Relationships categories and is being translated into Spanish. In addition, songs that O'Dwyer composed have been licensed for television by both the Telemundo and Country Music Television networks and featured in several of their shows.
on March 08, 2016 :
Quirky characters move towards a finale with inexorable logic of their own to make this an entertaining and humorous read. The offbeat highlights how it is easier to let others' decisions slide than taking a stand.
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
Douglas Spencer Wallis
on Nov. 26, 2015 :
I imagine the world is full of men around their forties who worry that they have not turned out to be as exceptional as their mothers convinced them they were. The hero, David Horvath, in Starbuck O'Dwyer's comic tour de force Goliath Gets Up, is such a man. The loss of his true love to a sneering yogi and his job as cabbage slicer in a chinese kitchen, together with the realisation that he has nothing except a very old car and free lodgings with his grandmother, brings him to this awareness. Having a limited and somewhat illogical sense of reason he comes to the conclusion that he is a reincarnation of a dragon and as such he is capable of exceptional things if he is determined. This is not a fantasy tale, he really believes it and together with a band of equally dysfunctional characters he sets out to achieve greatness by defeating the corrupt plans of the diabolic, foul mouthed, power crazy eighty seven year old nymphomaniac Mayor of Rochester, who seeks to create a gigantic gambling and vice complex in the most protected natural quarter of the town.
Such is the skill of Starbuck O'Dwyer's writing that you find yourself willing them to succeed, despite the obvious drawback of them all being certifiable losers. Every character is a gem in this book, their dialogue pushes the story along at a breath-taking pace. The politics are so completely unacceptably and the idealism improbable as it comes too quickly to a conclusion, which I have to say I had expected to be less predictable. But that in no ways detracts from this first class read.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)
on Dec. 21, 2014 :
I received this book through LibraryThing’s Member Giveaway program in exchange for an honest review.
Goliath Gets Up is a coming of age novel, although the protagonist (David/Dragon Horvath) is considerably older than the norm in the vein of other man-child novels. The story is told with a lot of very broad humour and some pathos. It is well written and easy to read.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
on July 25, 2014 :
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.
This was a funny book. I found myself laughing out loud at times. The problem I have with this book is the first half. It is hard to get through it. But if you stick with it you will be rewarded in the second half.
(reviewed 45 days after purchase)
on July 20, 2014 :
I LOVED this book! For those with a great sense of humor, you simply won't find anything funnier. IndieReader captured my feelings exactly in their own 5-star review when they said, "As author Starbuck O’Dwyer flawlessly depicts, Goliath Gets Up is about a rag-tag bunch of friends-by-circumstance who, led by a man who might have been a dragon in a previous life, decide they must do something important in order to change their lives. The friends actually have a formal meeting about what that impressive thing could be, and they weigh the pros and cons of each suggestion. This lovable group may not know what it is they should do, but they know it must be big. One strange turn leads to another, and the group decides the first step would be to get the Oscars (yes, the Awards) to relocate to Rochester. As that plan begins to melt like sugar in a puddle, the next plan is naturally to throw themselves off the town’s waterfall as part protest, part accomplishment. The absolute delight of this book comes from the characters and their conversations with each other. Some of the dialogue our hapless main character endures is side-splitting, while still as confusing for us as for him. The resolution is in no way contrite or fixed, but is very natural and endearing.
The setting of the story is so realistic in its vivid descriptions of locale that I had to do some research to find out if it was fiction or not. Of course, if Rochester, New York, ever actually had citizens named Nubby, Dragon, and Big Nasty, then Google let me down.
If this book has a flaw, it is that it ends far too soon for the readers who have rooted for these underdogs from page one. Goliath Gets Up is a delightful read in which you find yourself shamelessly and boisterously cheering for the most outrageous band of misfits to ever have a dream."
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Henk-Jan van der Klis
on July 16, 2014 :
David Horvath, 39 and still single, unemployed and still living with his grandmother Beatie in Rochester, New York has a crazy group of friends and tons more of absurd conversations, plans and actions. They come up drinking at a downtown bar. How to achieve greatness? How to put Rochester finally on the map? Bringing the Academy Awards (Oscars) to Rochester is their ultimate mission. Unfortunately the mayor, Cornelia Candee, steals his idea and mixes it with her own ambitions to turn the city's historic High Falls into a water slide park, and establish a casino and other adult entertainment to gain glory. David and his friends protest, but lose their bet and have to jump in the falls. The many lines of conversations are meant as satirical comedy, but read like a sequel of intentional misunderstandings. It's hard to plow through the first half of the book. Many new characters are introduced, no clear plot is given. It reads like it could last for hundreds of pages. I chose to read along, curious for the outcome. The best part are indeed the final chapters, where a story line unfolds and you can more easily relate to the characters.
(reviewed 13 days after purchase)