Whole Lot of Hullabaloo
Retro 85 (2020)
Reviewed by Gaby Baglieri for Reader Views (05/02)
“Whole Lot of Hullabaloo,” by Christopher Fried is quite the entertaining read. This satirical fiction on the ins and outs of a college campus immediately hooks readers on the first page. We are introduced to several different personalities, each representing the harms that stereotypes inflict on people. We have Milly, a first generation Korean American, who despite her parents’ wishes she pursues her dream to be an actress. We have Lola, a young Hispanic woman from Miami who struggles with the shame of not being able to speak Spanish as well as her Jewish roommate, Rachel. We see the struggle with racism and stereotypes through the administration and men in the novel as well. When one Ian Mueller makes a questionable decision on Halloween, the President of the University is left to figure out how to resolve the issue.
Fried does a spectacular job in keeping his readers engaged and entertained from start to finish. Every character has their quirks and trials. One of my favorite characters introduced is that of Troy. He is quiet, dedicated, and honest about his opinions and experiences. He does his best to bring attention to his best friend Ian’s problematic form of humor and choices, but while also defending him in other instances. Troy serves as an example of just how complex it can be to be a minority on a rather diverse campus.
We see the importance of accountability after Ian decides to dress up in a controversial Halloween costume. When people see his costume, it is interesting to see the different reactions towards. Some are indifferent, others speak out, and others choose to ignore it. But when it is brought to the attention of the administration we see how many people are realizing that had they tackled Ian’s earlier comments and actions, rather than dismiss it as ignorance, maybe the entire issue could have been resolved sooner and in a better fashion.
Overall, Christopher Fried is highly effective using humor and satire to bring attention to the dangers that ignorance can have when talking about race. I recommend “Whole Lot of Hullabaloo” by Christopher Fried to those readers that enjoy a bit of dark humor around a serious issue.