Never mind that you've seen the basic plot on a dozen old "B" movies, or that many of the characters are familiar stereotypes. The star of "Sunday Punch" is really the English language itself.
Edwin Newman uses the scenes of this comic novel to poke fun at the linguistic behavior of sportswriters and Washington socialites, academicians and "happy talk" TV newscasters. He gleefully parodies regionalisms, makes plays on words, and points an accusing finger at assorted verbal fads and clichés.
Such attention to language is only to be expected from a veteran television correspondent who in past years wrote the nonfiction best sellers "Strictly Speaking" and "A Civil Tongue." Both these books humorously lambasted a variety of follies, foibles, and needless obfuscations in current American writing and speech.
"Sunday Punch" chronicles the meteoric career of an unlikely athlete named Aubrey Philpott-Grimes, who rises from the obscurity of British amateur boxing to become a contender for the middleweight championship of the world….
[The book gives] a lot of chuckles, although few belly laughs. There is no element of depth to give it a more enduring appeal. But even for people like me, who reach to switch off the TV at the mere mention of boxing, "Sunday Punch" makes entertaining reading.
Spencer Punnett, "Pulling Punches," in The Christian...
(The entire section is 428 words.)