by Dmitry Benia
“I solemnly swear that I am a hypocrite, will always be a hypocrite and will expect others to be responsible for my hypocrisy for the rest of my life.”
Like too much of a good thing, Donna Lypchuk’s Necrofiles II (Insomniac Press, 221 pages, $19.99 paper, ISBN: 1895837537) can be tiresome: it satirizes Toronto culture relentlessly, jumping quickly from one situation to another, with little regard for the reader. The book is a sequel collection of Lypchuk’s columns for Eye, Toronto’s weekly paper. It covers the last five years and tackles many old issues, like the hockey strike and Princess Diana’s death. Most of the anecdotes are still amusing when looked at through Lypchuk’s eye. However, a few topics, like the anti-smoking campaign and Metro Toronto’s amalgamation, have been overdone to the point that reading about them today, even when mocked, seems pointless.
Despite Lypchuk’s occasional tendency to contradict herself and the rampant exaggerations, Necrofiles II does disarm by reminding us how unfair and imperfect we beings can be. Revelations about the lifestyles of Torontonians—what they eat, love, wear, think, believe, and inject, literally—abound. From the latest stress coping mechanisms to shopping strategies, from hilarious sexism to unconscious stereotyping, with a pinch of local politics and theatre, say squeege kids vs. Mel Lastman, Necrofiles II bites and barks. If only it weren’t so angry and determined, the book could be recommended for all ages. Unfortunately, it loses its appeal once past a certain age group, say fourteen to thirty-four.
An entertaining collection, to be thumbed through no more than twice a day, preferably during the commute.