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Best to Laugh

A Novel

2015
Author:

Lorna Landvik

Best to Laugh

Minnesota funny girl takes Hollywood by storm in inimitable Lorna Landvik style

Best to Laugh follows Lorna Landvik’s latest irresistible character, Candy Pekkala, from Minnesota to Hollywood as she pursues her dream of becoming a comedian. Herself a comic performer, Landvik taps her own adventurous past and writes in her classic style—sometimes so funny, you’ll cry; sometimes so sad, you might as well laugh; and always impossible to put down.

Best to Laugh is cheerfully outlandish, filled with ambition, love, adventure, kindness, swimming pools, nightclubs, and baked goods. Best of all, it’s laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Julie Schumacher, author of The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls and Dear Committee Members

No one steps up to life’s banquet, holds out her tray, and orders, “Grief, please!” But as a child, Candy Pekkala was served a heaping helping of it. Every buffet line has a dessert section, however, and when a cousin calls with a Hollywood apartment to sublet, it seems as though Candy is finally offered something sweet. It’s good-bye to Minnesota and hello to California, where a girl who has always lived by her wits has a real chance of making a living with them. With that, the irrepressible Lorna Landvik launches her latest irresistible character onto the world stage—or at least onto the dimly lit small stage where stand-up comedy gets its start.

Herself a comic performer, Landvik taps her own adventurous past and Minnesota roots to conjure Candy’s life in this strange new Technicolor home. Her fellow tenants at Peyton Hall include a female bodybuilder, a ruined nightclub impresario, and a well-connected Romanian fortune-teller. There are game show appearances and temp jobs at a record company and an establishment suspiciously like the Playboy Mansion, and of course the alluring but not always welcoming stage of stand-up comedy. As she hones her act, Candy is tested by humiliation, hecklers, and the inherent sexism that insists “chicks aren’t funny.”

Written with the light touch and quiet wisdom that have made her works so popular, this is classic Lorna Landvik—sometimes so funny, you’ll cry; sometimes so sad, you might as well laugh; and always impossible to put down.

Best to Laugh

Lorna Landvik is the best-selling author of many novels, including Patty Jane’s House of Curl, Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons, Oh My Stars, and Mayor of the Universe (Minnesota, 2014). She has performed stand-up and improvisational comedy around the country and is also a public speaker, playwright, and actor, most recently seen in an all-improvised, one-woman show Party in the Rec Room.

Best to Laugh

Best to Laugh is cheerfully outlandish, filled with ambition, love, adventure, kindness, swimming pools, nightclubs, and baked goods. Best of all, it’s laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Julie Schumacher, author of The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls and Dear Committee Members

Best to Laugh had me laughing out loud. It’s both funny and tender, and filled with memorable characters. You can’t help but love Candy Pekkala and her quirky, mixologist grandmother. Lorna Landvik has written a charming novel with real heart.

Shannon Olson, author of Welcome to My Planet

One of the things that accounts for Lorna Landvik’s immense popularity is the essential good-heartedness she brings to her work. But as much as this is a celebration of a very special time and place, it is even more a celebration of character, desire, friendship, perseverance, and love—oh, and hamburger hot dish.

Elizabeth Berg, author of Tapestry of Fortunes and The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted

GREAT NOVEL!!! It reads like an autobiography! Best to Laugh, although fiction, is one of the truest accounts of a Hollywood life one can read. It takes a master of comedy to be able to write about the business of laughter. To interpret its roots and inner working. Lorna Landvik is precisely that. I, for one of many, can attribute countless gut busting laughs to the genius of Lorna. A great nostalgic tale.

Mo Collins, actress/comedian

Landvik’s novel is happily filled with a double dose of nostalgia—the protagonist’s for the golden age of Hollywood and the author’s for a lovably gritty 1970s Los Angeles.

Kirkus Reviews

Filled with historical lore about Hollywood’s glory days, inside observations about the chauvinism that pervades the comedy boys’ club, and a bevy of secondary characters straight out of central casting, Landvik’s homage to funny ladies everywhere is a joyful, breezy trip down memory lane.

Booklist

While you’re reading along, laughing at the silly characters or stories, empathizing with the struggle of the young comic ‘just trying to make it,’ you’re also acutely aware of just how much this specific young comic has gone through. It’s a powerful combination, one that ensures that while it’s certainly best to laugh, that’s not the only thing you’ll be doing.

Three Guys One Book

Best to Laugh recounts real—poignant and laugh-out-loud funny—experience.

Star Tribune

Landvik’s come a long way as a writer, actress and comedian since she lived in Peyton Hall. Now Landvik pays homage to Peyton Hall and “that time and place that’s gone forever” in her new novel Best to Laugh.

St. Paul Pioneer Press

Best to Laugh has Landvik’s signature humor—a little corny, a lot sweet—and the sort of friends-become-family characters that defined her best-selling debut Patty Jane’s House of Curl. There is a Steel Magnolias-style of laugh-aw-cry-laugh likability to the tale and the 1970s-ness is so palpable, you can practically hear the whisper-walk of a woman’s silk pantsuit.

Duluth News-Tribune

The kind of book Landvik readers love. We get the wonderfully nice Midwestern girl we crave in these kinds of books, a host of quirky folks who are also fun to know, a dream in the making, and an ending that might find you reaching for tissues. “Best,” indeed.

Bookworm Sez

While ripe with humor, the protagonist’s narration also serves up wisdom, nostalgia, and heart-wrenching life lessons.

City Pages

You’ll want to mention this to your book club when you’re done reading it.

Rockdale Citizen

A satisfying read that sheds light on the wonders and vicissitudes of life.

River Falls Journal

Unadorned but vivid.

Women’s Review of Books

Best to Laugh is a trip back to the 1970s, to Hollywood, to the stand-up comic stage. It’s a good ready by a funny author and it might just make you want to follow your own dreams a little bit more.

News-Gazette

Landvik succeeds in creating a fast paced, highly humorous novel about what it takes to succeed.

Jacksonville Journal-Courier

It takes a master of comedy to be able to write about the business of laughter.

Mo Collins, actress/comedian

Laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members