2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!

I had heard tales of legendary physicist Richard Feynman: the carousing, the womanizing, the crazy pranks. The frequent trips to Las Vegas, where I imagined the craps tables were no match for the genius who helped build the first atomic bomb.

So naturally I was interested in Feynman’s autobiography; I wanted to get the inside scoop on all these shenanigans. And I did. Feynman doesn’t hold back. There may be some stuff he left out, but he seems pretty open about the whole panoply of his interests, from safe cracking to women; from Brazilian music to naked women; from art to young, naked women.

The thing that surprised me, though, was that while I expected him to be a smooth, sophisticated, Top Cat-style operator, he’s really just a big ol’ nerd. And the book reads like your nerdy (and horny) grandpa spinning yarns about his high jinks from back in the day, including all the time he spent “working” at the topless 24-hour diner down the street from his house.

It is a charming read, though. And it keeps you interested all the way through, because there really is no rhyme or reason to what tangent his life is going to take next. It seems almost like the autobiography of a cartoon character, like one of Homer Simpson’s co-workers. But it is amazingly real.

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