‘The History of Human Error by Jerry’ Will Confuse and Delight You
In his book, The History of Human Error by Jerry, Christopher Beard gives us a protagonist who is grappling with a series of complex relationships, including those with his deceased father, his mother and her boyfriend, and a girl he meets in a psychiatric ward. ‘Jerry’ narrates the book and Beard provides elaborate and colorful descriptions of his thoughts and feelings. The book moves quickly from one vignette to another, but the story remains integrated, albeit through a series of disparate occurrences. The epilogue offers a surprise ending that epitomizes Beard’s use of dislocation as a literary device.
Jerry begins his narrative with a letter, ostensibly written by him, but it is later revealed that the author is his mother’s boyfriend. This is the initial revelation of complicated relationships and the emotions associated with them. The book moves forward in this vein, relying on a series of events as a backdrop for exploring the role of human connection in shaping conceptions of reality and, ultimately, morality. Jerry lives in his head, so his thoughts about what happens are what really matters here.
Jerry’s quest for love and virtue takes him on a convoluted path through this short book: it is only 11 8 pages. But don’t let the brevity fool you, this work is full of complexities that compel thought.
A final note: When I finished reading The History of Human Error my initial impression was that Beard is either crazy or a genius. I think maybe he’s the latter.
Dr. George P. Miller, President
American InterContinental University