I found this book incredibly hilarious, at moments hysterical and riotous in more than one sense of the word. That’s the usual way of the book’s author. It is not the first book I’ve read by James Hanna, but I somehow ended up writing the first review about it. Hanna has a knack for writing satire stories and for prison stuff that’s no laughing matter.

You can get acquainted with more of his quirky satire wit in “A Second, Less Capable, Head: And Other Rogue Stories” and enjoy more of the serious stuff in “The Siege”. Therefore, I’m somewhat used to his style, which doesn’t mean I enjoyed it any less in this book. On the contrary, I enjoyed “Call me Pomeroy” as much as I did the previous reading, if not more. 

“Call me Pomeroy”: How Much Can You Like an Anti-hero?

Seeing such brutal honesty from a criminal who tells his story through the lens of personal experience is refreshing. It’s completely different to see how the mind of an outlaw works in the first person. Such intricate delving into the criminal mind is rare probably because not many many criminals like Pomeroy become writers or not many writers engage in crime.

Through the pages of “Call me Pomeroy”, you get a chance to examine how the brain of a narcissistic, self-absorbed, and antisocial character with an inflated ego works first-hand, which is not an easy task to pull off unless you are either one of them or spend a lot of time around typical antisocialites – criminals. 

Since Hanna has genuinely experienced what is like to be working in the penitentiary system, you can taste his closeness to this type of character and prowess about the subject matter. Prison-related books are usually one-of-a-kind pleasure to read and this one is uniquely charismatic, as well.

Pomeroy is a parolee who believes he is very special. His confidence (read: overvaluation) of his abilities as a musician are remarkable to follow. Not a bit less entertaining and appalling are his beliefs that every woman should fall at her knees once she meets him and be grateful to have him end up in her panties. 

Another moment that adds up to Pomeroy’s troubling character is his name change. Pomeroy chooses this new name because he believes his old one is too plain and commonplace. Instead of Eddie Beasley, he turns into the dignified Pomeroy.

When he steps out of jail, Pomeroy (Eddie Beasley) has a detestable behavior but is weirdly likable when he showcases his anti-establishment views. He is politically incorrect to a deplorable level and this constant awful behavior makes him the right anti-hero. 

Call me Pomeroy book review 2
Photo by Felix Koutchinski on Unsplash

However, I couldn’t help but think that I’d love to adopt a few of his rebellious attitudes and have the guts to deal with authorities the way Pomeroy does it. If you’re used to being agreeable and veer towards socially acceptable behavior, you may also secretly wish to borrow a couple of maneuvers from this anti-hero, just to serve justice when needed. His Occupy-Oakland pathway of resistance and anti-government worldview while he works his way to musical stardom after jail are questionable, even delusional in a way.

Yet he seems to know himself well and if you want to get to know him better and discover a few surprises along the way, you might just go for the book. Otherwise, the title of his musical creation “Ants in my Pants” pretty much sums him up.

I enjoyed immensely his unbridled language and his lack of self-restraint. He may not be the greatest example of a moral character but that rarely makes good and fun reading.

Entertaining? Yes. Morally dubious? Yes, which is one more reason to get intrigued to get to know this wolf who is unlikely to ever change his character, but is also not very concerned about changing his coat, too.

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