Book review: Bass Lake Mayor Bunkard shows true colors (whatever they are)

Cover of Bass Lake Mayor Forrest Bunkard’s first book. (Insanity Press)

By Max Fontaine | Wishes he could retire

Publisher’s note: The following review does not necessarily reflect opinions of Bass Lake Beacon, or anyone, for that matter.

Bass Lake mayor Forrest Bunkard has published his first official book, “Why I’m Mayor (And How).”

Bunkard had written several unpublished books, most of them spiral-bound and stuck randomly on the shelves at Bass Lake Public/Private Library, his previous place of employment. This is the first occasion when an actual publishing house gave him a contract.

Maybe they saw something I didn’t. Oh well, better their money than mine.

In the book’s introduction, which rambles for 37 pages, Bunkard sets the stage for what’s to come, and what isn’t.

“Will this tome help me win re-election? Probably not. At least you’ll have a reason to hate me. That’s why I call it a “tome.”

Chapter 1, “Hi, I’m Forrest Bunkard,” gets off to a rousing start.

“Hi. My name is Forrest Bunkard,’ it begins. That’s followed by a list of 23 possible chapter titles he rejected.

Chapter 2 begins, and its title is among those Bunkard apparently rejected. Heh-heh! Good one, F-Bunk!

And so on.

The best part of the book is probably Chapter 9, titled “Duke of Earl Monroe,” which is merely a two-word chapter “About Blank.” It’s the only chapter that can be consumed in one sittting.

“Why I’m Mayor” teeter-totters between triviality and overcooked political philosophy. At best, it inspires astonishment and outright puzzlement. At worst — well, exactly the same thing.

He takes pot-shots at former mayors Carolyn Shee, Guy Soundguy and the late Delores C. Denominator (Bunkard’s claim: “Everyone laughed at Ms. D. when she was alive. Now, she’s a saint, but nobody is laughing.”)

Bunkard even takes a swipe at Al Schwartz, who wrote the Foreword to the book.

“Schwartz is a self-proclaimed ‘poet laureate’ of Bass Lake. He does many things well, but writing isn’t one of them.”

(Without realizing it, Bunkard wrote his own self-review in a nutshell).

Despite the promise of the title, His Mayorness doesn’t directly discuss his shocking election upset in 2016 or delve into local policy until Chapter 10, titled, strangely, “Place Directly on Center Oven Rack.”

Bunkard’s best foot forward, or at least a couple of toes, is when he makes good-natured non-sequitur observations. They’re entirely useless in most cases, but it keeps the reader from nodding off.

I don’t always expect much from Bass Lake politicians. At minimum, though, I expect something. As the cliche goes, “It is what it wasn’t.”

Rating: 1.45 stars (out of 5)

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