Assume the Worst
The Graduation Speech You'll Never Hear
This is Oh, the Places You'll Never Go-the ultimate hilarious, cynical, but absolutely realistic view of a college graduate's future. And what he or she can or can't do about it. "This commencement address will never be given, because graduation speakers are supposed to offer encouragement and inspiration. That's not what you need. You need a warning." So begins Carl Hiaasen's attempt to prepare young men and women for their future. And who better to warn them about their precarious paths forward than Carl Hiaasen' The answer, after reading Assume the Worst, is: Nobody. And who better to illustrate-and with those illustrations, expand upon and cement Hiaasen's cynical point of view-than Roz Chast, best-selling authorllustrator and National Book Award winner' The answer again is easy: Nobody. Following the format of Anna Quindlen's commencement address (Being Perfect) and George Saunders's commencement address (Congratulations, by the way), the collaboration of Hiaasen and Chast might look typical from the outside, but inside it is anything but. This book is bound to be a classic, sold year after year come graduation time. Although it's also a good gift for anyone starting a job, getting married, or recently released from prison. Because it is not just funny. It is, in its own Hiaasen way, extremely wise and even hopeful. Well, it might not be full of hope, but there are certainly enough slivers of the stuff in there to more than keep us all going.
Hiaasen presents "The Graduation Speech You'll Never Hear," telling graduates (or new job-holders, or brides-and-grooms, or newly-released ex-convicts) the truth: you need to disregard the lame platitudes, keep disillusionment at bay, and assume that bad things will happen in life. Yes, life is a shit storm. No, you're not all doomed. And you might even survive with a sense of humor intact.
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2018
1 sound file : digital