Reader reviews for Cash Out: A Novel

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Dan Jordan, speech writer for the CEO of FlowBid, a Silicon Valley startup. And in three days, he can cash out his stock and be an instant millionaire. Then he and his wife could live the lives they’ve dreamed of. Only one problem, in those three days, he gets a vasectomy, is kidnapped, and threatened to be exposed for some illicit behavior at work. Where it all leads to is one humorous rollercoaster of a ride. This faced pace comical story is an easy read (it does have raunchy dialogue). Did it have laugh-out-loud parts? I didn’t think so, but I enjoyed the story for what it was and the author is a good story teller. Its part mystery (with many twists) and part comedy.
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I'm looking at the book description and all the blurbs and seeing things like "mercilessly hilarious," "madcap" and "irreverent, surreal, utterly original" and I'm wondering if they read the same book I just finished. I won't say the book is worthless, because it has a few moments and Greg Bardsley can write, but the characters aren't believable and only a couple aren't a waste of space. Unfortunately, characters who aren't a waste of space do not include the protagonist.I know the America's Favorite Home Videos crowd thinks it's hysterically funny to see people humiliated and physically hurt, but I don't get my laughs from reading about a guy who's just had a vasectomy getting kicked in the privates, a creepy fat guy giggling as he threatens his neighbor and then takes a dump in the upper tank of the neighbor's toilet, or a new employee demonstrating his dominance over other employees by eating a rat. Whenever the humor isn't sadistic, it's juvenile bodily function stuff. I never so much as cracked a smile reading this book.So if the book's not funny (unless you're into sadistic and/or crude humor), it needs to offer something else. I kept hoping that something would come along that would give the story some meaning, but it never did. The protagonist, Dan Jordan, is repellent; a mope who is disloyal to his company and the wife he's supposed to be devoted to. Still, all the excrement that rains down on him is overkill, to say the least, and there's no point to it.And don't get me started on the way author Bardsley portrays women. Dan's wife is needy and manipulative, their marriage counselor belittles him, and the women at work tend to be harpies or nags. When it comes right down to it, the women are just variations on a theme of emasculation. The men don't come off a lot better. They're a bunch of one-upping slimeballs and psychos.Just thinking about the book makes me feel sad that I wasted time reading it. I'm sure there are people who will enjoy it, but if you're reading this review, be sure you really, really like sadistic and crude humor, misogyny and nonstop cynicism before spending your time and money on this.
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Dan Jordan is having a really bad day. First, in an effort to show his dedication to his wife and his family, he undergoes the dreaded snip. Then, as he is hobbling towards his car for the trip home and a much-needed pack of frozen peas, he is kidnapped by three of the most unlikely criminals. To make matters worse, after his kidnappers let him go, he is assaulted by a muscle-bound man, and assaulted is actually sugar-coating the treatment he receives at the hands of this unknown bulkhead. With three days left until he can cash out his stock options and live happily ever after with his beloved wife and adored sons, all he wants to do is sit tight, ice his testicles, and get the money that will change his life for good. However, in Greg Barsley’s Cash Out, Dan’s options are just not that simple.Stock options have lost their prestige because companies are not offering them as incentives anymore and because after the stock market turmoil of the past decade, people are leery about their long-term viability in a volatile economy. However, Cash Out occurs right before the beginning of the economic bust, when the stock market was flying high and holding stock in a start-up tech company was something about which most people dreamed. Like all incentives, especially ones that have the potential to be extremely lucrative, there is an underlying catch-22, namely having to sacrifice time and potentially some morals in the name of driving up stock prices. It is a situation Dan thought he had weathered fairly well but still cannot wait to leave, and he knows his vested stock will be the ticket to his life of dreams. Yet, as he is rushes to accede all demands from the various parties after him, he realizes just how much he has sacrificed, namely family, as he was biding his time until the end of the vesting period. Therein lies the charm of Dan’s crazy adventures. He truly is the quintessential family man, albeit one who has made some not-so-familial mistakes that land him in his current troubles.Cash Out is a sociologist’s dream novel as it hypothesizes on the motivating impact of money, or the potential to obtain it, and the lengths to which people will go to protect their assets. Dan’s love for his wife and his family is unquestionable. While his actions as well as the events themselves may be a bit far-fetched, a reader knows indubitably that everything he does is to get that dream lifestyle for his family. Dan is a congenial enough character, well-meaning and earnest, and while his prior actions may have been questionable – hence the blackmail – his heart is definitely in the right place. Dan’s friends and neighbors provide most of the humor as their well-intentioned behaviors create some of the wackier scenes. The resulting lesson is tremendously appropriate, given today’s focus on materialism and one-upmanship, even if Mr. Bardsley tends to reiterate his point a bit more forcefully than necessary. Enjoyable and timely, Cash Out will make any reader appreciate the fact that even on the worst of days, it will still not be as awful as Dan’s.
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