The Sarcasm Handbook

Image of The Sarcasm Handbook
Release Date: 
August 21, 2017
Skyhorse Publishing
Reviewed by: 

The Sarcasm Handbook expands Lawrence Dorfman’s already very considerable range beyond his bestselling series on Snark. Anticipating the question he characterizes Snark as “witty repartee “showing off your smarts, without having anyone sighted in the scope of your aim.” Whereas “Sarcasm is usually filled with disdain. It’s often mean, sometimes downright sadistic.”

Sarcasm is targeted whereas as Snark is free-floating; Sarcasm depends on tone, facial expression, and body language to make the victim and any other audience understand. He inserts a thoughtful *(S) in the text to ensure that no sarcastic nuance is missed. In Dorman’s hands Sarcasm is a bludgeon not a rapier.

As the author acknowledges in passing the idea of a handbook for Sarcasm seems to deny essence of Sarcasm. Sarcasm requires spontaneity, wit, irony, and a strong sense of superiority all of which might preclude the purchase of a Handbook. Although it is often associated with social superiority it can also be underdog humor. The dedicated Sarcastic do not care whether the victim or audience “gets it” and to produce a truly resonant and complex sarcasm is a pleasure in itself to be savored in solitude.

Nevertheless Dorfman is to be commended for taking on a task that many experts would regard as impossible. And this neat little book will be a handy gift for the aspiring Sarcastic and those who want to complete the series.