Born Bent Over: Flashing the Vertical Smile at Middle Age

Brian Greenleaf

iUniverse, 2008

93 pages, Humor

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

What should you do when you hit middle age and realize you are out-of-shape and divorced, with no hair and a body that resembles a bowl of oatmeal? Give life the middle finger, attack your plight head on, laugh at yourself and then write a self-defacing book about it. Brian Greenleaf’s Born Bent Over: Flashing the Vertical Smile at Middle Age is the ultimate celebration of middle-aged misery. It’s a light-hearted look at the unavoidable perils we youngsters can look forward to, while all you 40+ geezers nod knowingly and eagerly await the next newcomers to climb over the hill and come careening down your side.

Filled with hilarious and sometimes touching essays on life-after-midlife-crisis, Greenleaf is a witty storyteller whose good-natured sarcasm draws you into a miserable existence filled with charming anecdotes of mid-life wretchedness. You can’t help but admire how much he’s embraced his dismal existence. Greenleaf has truly made lemonade out of life’s lemons (after being squirted in the eye by burning juice-acid a few times). He has clearly enjoyed every minute of writing this book, and the reader will appreciate Greenleaf’s positive and uplifting approach to growing old. Most amusing is a chapter titled “Who Said Women Don’t Fart?” a detailed encounter with a swamp-assed supermarket granny. Greenleaf is so comfortable with his words that he has nearly created his own vernacular.

This is a great gift idea for the middle-aged person in your life and its good-natured ribbing is harmed only by a handful of several typos and some redundancy. It could use some professional typesetting and a review using the Chicago Manual of Style. He classifies his book as fiction on the back cover, when it’s clearly non-fiction/humor. A few revisions and a resubmit to his POD partner should fix this.

Born Bent Over: Flashing the Vertical Smile at Middle Age is a funny book that I honestly enjoyed. I never felt I was reading it because I had promised a review, I wanted to see what kind of trouble he’d get into next. I was rewarded with a few chuckles while I read of his cockamamie chain-letter scheme and his attempt to get in shape after buying his own treadmill. Greenleaf is the type of guy you’d want to have a beer with. Does that mean I think he should be President of the United States? Well, probably not. But he’d probably be a pretty entertaining guy and a genuinely good hang.

It’s a good book that taught me that growing old, though filled with colorful challenges and surprises, probably won’t be that bad.

Born Bent Over: Flashing the Vertical Smile at Middle Age is available through iUniverse, Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com in both hardcover and paperback. You can find more information on Brian’s website.

Reviewed by Mark McGinty, December 2009

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One Response to Born Bent Over: Flashing the Vertical Smile at Middle Age

  1. […] made the list. Kipling’s Cat is Anne Cabot Wyman’s enduring memoir of her father, and Born Bent Over is Brian Greenleaf’s hilarious confrontation with the perils of growing […]

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