Kenneth Williams, of ‘Carry On…’ fame for many, was a troubled character. Clever but socially handicapped, he lived a mostly solitary life. It comes as no surprise, then, that his collection of witty quips and quotes is entirely made up of the sort of put-downs that leave the victim feeling bad. Of course, the title gives a clue to the nature of the assortment; his selection is pungent with acerbic witticisms.
As an optimist and, bearing a philanthropic nature, I found only a few of these short forays into wit amusing. Many are cruel. At best, most are caustic. I laugh easily; it’s in my nature. But I didn’t laugh at many of these. Though I can admire the intelligence that created them. And Williams’ short accompanying accounts of how the quips came to be are quite amusing and informative.
Of course, this is a book intended to be dipped into rather than read, as I did, at one sitting. Perhaps I was overwhelmed by the nastiness of much of the material.
I have no doubt that those of a misanthropic or sour disposition will find plenty to enjoy here. But, for me, there was a little too much acid to make the book enjoyable. This is a volume that illustrates that beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder. For me, it was distinctly ugly, but clever. So a mixed review. If you like your wit with a cutting edge and little mercy, this will suit you.