Rudy Can’t Fail: Being the Account of One Patriot’s Brave Efforts to Save the Great American Way of Life
Rudy Can’t Fail is W. Dipper’s first known foray into publishing. Choosing bravely to embark alone, he published the novel with iUniverse; a self-publishing company based in the US. The company offers a variety of packages, with services ranging from intensive editing and evaluation processes to slapping on an IsbN and distributing it all over the world. Of course this means anyone with a bit of money and a manuscript can get their book on the market, but there’s nothing wrong with that, right?
The novel presents us with a satirical portrait of Rudy, a self-proclaimed American patriot who once lived simply and sustainably in a tipi. In a moment of inverse epiphany, Rudy renounces his lifestyle to go on a cross-country conquest to promote excessive spending in order to ‘save’ the country from economic disaster. The story describes Rudy’s comical journey across America with dialogue that is crammed with political and cultural insights, similar to what one might see on a late night political talk show. Like these television shows, the novel appears deeply concerned with many of today’s important issues including consumerism, environmental sustainability and political ethics, presenting them with a smile.
Despite the novel’s ironic endorsement of right wing politics, it is not without its own problems. On his travels Rudy encounters a host of characters. Each character is supposed to represent a personality found in American culture. He encounters the Spanish fruit picker, the beatnik, the foolish security guards, the white rapper, the homosexual, the environmentalist and, of course, the President of the United States. Disappointingly, the humour in these encounters relies heavily on the stereotypes already perpetuated by lowbrow comedies. In addition to that, there are times when the portrayal of these characters comes off as offensive. Though the novel may seek to find humour in these characters and celebrate America’s diversity, the line between satire and ignorance is somehow blurred and the sincerity of the book has to be questioned. I had to ask myself: do these stereotypes reveal some sort of deeper insight into American culture, and by the end of the novel I still wasn’t sure.
That being said, Rudy isn’t an entirely awful read, in fact it is incredibly readable. There is some original humour speckled throughout and Dipper’s writing is clear and of picturesque quality. The plot is interesting enough and Rudy’s mishaps are usually so unbelievably ridiculous that you can’t wait to find out what he’ll get himself into next. (Eric Schmaltz)
by W. Dipper, $20.95, 347 pgs., iUniverse, 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN, 47403, USA