Ah, 1986; the year of Chernobyl, the birth of the Oprah Winfrey Show, and another average year in terms of hopes and dreams in New York City. Using 1986 as the setting for his hilarious and touching “A Fool Among Fools,” John Terracuso cleverly uses the readers fondness for the past to tell a story that is like a brilliant mash-up of a great 80’s tv show sprinkled with all the good parts of a Jennifer Aniston movie.
Michel Gregoretti, “Fools” driving narrative force, finds himself coping with the grind of being a copywriter at some nameless, mammoth New York ad agency where Don Draper would not be entirely out-of-place scouting the pretty new things loitering in the lobby. Underpaid and immensely talented at his craft, Michael churns out terrible commercial after terrible commercial for a new novelty product. In hopes of changing his current rut, Michael accepts a new assignment that will get him a better paying, more respectable position. With this new assignment comes the introduction of the utterly evil Gwen Hammond, a villainess, and Craig Connolly, a love interest for Michael who isn’t without his own flaws.
Replete with the two best friends who help Michael to realize his true motivations in like, “Fools” moves along with the pace of a zany romantic comedy with the quest for love at its core. Presented with obstacles along the path to a possible shot at success in both the workplace and in the home, Michael’s life is literally a commercial in itself – the reader gets glimpses into different parts of his life without getting the whole picture in one full swoop. The reader in a way must piece together Michael’s life and appetite for success and put together the composite of his quite funny and endearing character.
“A Fool Among Fools”, while on the surface may appear as just another throwback to the screwball comedies of the 50’s, has many moving parts. Terracuso smartly presents characters that although living in Reagan’s era, are very modern and savvy. Each situation that Michael finds himself in has a comical tone, but also a self-reflective one. It’s a character study in the least, and a modern romantic comedy at best.