French author Martin Page’s How I Became Stupid is an amusing story of one man’s quest to remove the shackles of intellect by any means necessary so that he might finally live comfortably among the uninquiring masses. For those who can genuinely relate to this plight and wish to find a fictional kindred spirit, this book will probably not deliver. Part of the humor in the book, which could easily be read in a single sitting, is the main character’s hypocrisy. So assured is he of his intellectual superiority that he retains most of the vices of those who he looks down upon while justifying them in an overly intellectualized form of snobbery.
The book starts out strongly, with his asking a drunkard at a bar for instruction on how to obtain alcoholism and with his cleverly written seminar on suicide. The first half of the book is certainly the most entertaining half, as the rest delves into the “real” world of capitalism where the laughs become few. The ending is resolved rather suddenly, albeit in an amusing way, with a dues ex machina device, which is ultimately to the story’s detriment, unfortunately. Still, its short length makes it a quick and painless read which will garner a few laughs, and it’s a good book to share with overly-intellectual friends.