Not Exactly What I Had in Mind by Roy Blount Jr. (Atlantic Monthly Press: $14.95)
What Roy Blount Jr., presumably did have in mind was that this collection of magazine humor pieces would come together as a cohesive, funny whole. It didn't.
The surest approach for Southern writers out to establish national reputations is to move to New York or New England and then turn out reams of prose about what they left behind and why. Georgian Blount, now settled in Mill River, Mass., falls squarely into this category. But good-ole-boy humor of the type exemplified in "Crackers," the best-known of Blount's previous four books, went out of vogue when the Carter Administration ended. In the introduction to "Not Exactly What I Had in Mind," Blount says: "This book is not about Ronald Reagan per se. . . . But what I have in mind, roughly speaking, is to pull against the President's sense of humor without losing hold of mine."
Blount himself notes that "it is hard to discuss Humor without seeming a fool." Still, it is safe to say that good written humor is about something. The shaggy dog story, at which Blount excels, is considerably funnier in a bar at midnight than spread at meandering and pointless length across the printed page.