Review of The Commode Companion


Title: The Commode Companion: Exposing the innermost thoughts of animals, birds, bugs, butterflies, and frogs

Author: Rolf Margenau

Published: July 27, 2015

Publisher: Frogworks Publishing

~ Synopsis ~

An interactive photo book that exposes the innermost thoughts of animals, birds, bugs, butterflies, and frogs. Designed to induce laughter and thwart constipation. No commode should be without a copy.

Get a copy

~ Book Review~

This is not my usual type of book to review, but the author wrote such funny emails asking me to review his book that I just couldn’t resist. Besides, he promised I didn’t need much time to read the book either. I was out of excuses.

First of all, don’t skip over the Author’s Note. It displays Margenau’s dry wit. The rest of the book was cute and funny. It does exactly what it sets out to do – entertain readers otherwise occupied. I received a free ebook from the writer and unfortunately the ebook misses its mark. This type of book – a companion for bathroom visits – needs to be a paperback book so that you can set it next to the toilet. I also found the pictures a bit one-dimensional as my kindle is black and white. That said – I would totally recommend this book if you’re thinking about grabbing the paperback copy.

~ About the Author ~

The author of these books has had a varied career. He has been a scrub nurse in an operating room, a professional photographer, a sergeant during the Korean War, a correspondent for the Pacific Stars and Stripes, an attorney specializing in international corporate law, a volunteer executive running a not-for-profit dedicated to housing the homeless, a manager of large and small businesses and, lately, an author and Master Gardener.

He first published short stories as an English Major from Yale. After that he went astray and became an attorney.

After retirement at an early age, the author discovered that his wife kept all the 300 plus letters he wrote her from Korea. He decided to use that material as the basis for a novel about the Korean War. It was a story he wanted to tell for many years.

Public Information is based on his experiences as NCO in charge of a combat Infantry Division Public Information (hence the title) Office in Korea. It tells the story of Wylie Cypher, a hapless young soldier who arrives in Korea in the midst of bloody combat. Wylie manages to survive his sixteen-month tour of duty as Margenau recounts in gory, ribald, poignant and accurate detail. His adventures are described in military jargon and his sometimes abrasive involvement with the “Army way” describes the good, bad and incredible of life in the military. Along the way, Wylie manages to find and lose love. Pistils and Poetry is the author’s second book. It is a compilation of Margenau’s favorite Elizabethan poems (Shakespeare, Marlowe, Donne, and numerous others) juxtaposed with the author’s photographs of flowers. It is a rich and engaging poetry book, enhanced and complimented by luscious photos of flowers. The book is considered as an elegant way to tease reluctant poetry readers into an appreciation of the beautiful sentiments and language of long ago masters of the English language.

Encouraged by the reception for his first novel, Margenau published Master Gardener in March, 2013. It is a story that explores conflicts between the benefits of engineered crops and their potential for ecological disaster. Wylie Cypher, the hero of Public Information, is now seventy-five years old. He uses his life and legal experience to defend one of the women in his life, Anne Proctor, against the machinations of malevolent BIG AG. BIG AG wants to suppress magic seeds Anne found in the Amazon jungle. Senior citizens band together as eco-terrorists to save the monarch butterfly, and Dick Geier, the ruthless and profane CEO of BIG AG, engages in corporate shenanigans that reflect current headlines. The story is set in Middletown, New Anglia, not too far from Philadelphia, and is bracketed by episodes along the Amazon River in Peru.

His third novel, published in August 2014, is High Andes, a thriller. The central narrative follows Wylie Cypher, in his mid-forties and suffering from a serious mid-life crisis, and his daughter, Mercy, as they try to elude various villains chasing them across the White Mountains of Peru. The story deals with armed insurrection by Maoist guerillas, smuggling ancient artifacts, “disappearances” of troublemakers, a five hundred year old child mummy, and the CIA.

During the winter of 2015, the author was inspired to create another book of photos – this time animals and other critters who speak to he reader. The Commode Companion is a photo book with comic captions, generally described as hilarious.

Rolf is now writing a satirical novel about what happens, in the near future, when Congress decides to bail out a bankrupt country by privatizing America’s National Parks. The author lives in rural New Jersey with his wife, three dogs, a flower garden favored by monarch butterflies, and many woodlands creatures, including a bear who loves bird feeders.

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