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The Happiest Man in the World

Posted on

The Happiest Man in the World

Current Status:
In Season
Alec Wilkinson
Random House
Biography, Nonfiction

We gave it a B

Alec Wilkinson, a New Yorker vet and author of 1993’s true-crime gem A Violent Act, unspools the strange life of David Pearlman, a.k.a. Poppa Neutrino in The Happiest Man in the World. An eccentric drifter in his 70s with a white beard and two teeth (”one on each jaw”), Neutrino criss-crosses the country like a dizzy bedouin, hatching half-baked schemes like a defense-proof football play that may be as revolutionary as the forward pass and a plan to cross the Pacific on a wooden raft. Wilkinson sits back nonjudgmentally, which is noble and all. Unfortunately, his dry approach fails to bring to life the daffy old coot promised at the outset. B