Friday, August 19, 2022

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Book Review

‘No Pulp, Please’ is less than enlightening


BOOK FINALReview by Kris Kelly

Gannett, Inc.


80 pp.

First-time author and former Gannett Inc. staff writer Aric Jones squeezes the pulpy backstory out of one of the Des Moines metro’s free publications with his new book, “No Pulp, Please.” Jones said he got the idea he wanted to be a writer while doodling on his desk during numerous Saturday School detentions during his five-year stint at Roosevelt High School.

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But if “No Pulp, Please” is any indication, Jones’ general education degree has done him few favors. The book offers the storied history of The Des Moines Register’s faux alternative, Juice, which was launched by the Gannett-owned newspaper in 2005.

Jones chronicles Juice from its rocky inception, as it struggled to find its identity and its niche in the Des Moines market, to the peppy publication it is today. Self-proclaimed as the “definitive guide to being a 25- to 34-year-old DIY-er in the Des Moines area,” Juice gets the squeeze in this 88-page paperback, with pop-up photos of young professionals living cushy urban lives void of real-life problems. It touches on specific “hard-hitting” stories of epic past issues, such as “5 Things To Know About Black Friday Shopping” and “3 Tips to Pack Like a Pro for a Weekend Getaway.”

The start-up history, though, is where the meat of the story sears in “No Pulp, Please.” Originally the brainchild of Joe King, the then nighttime custodial apprentice at the Nevada Journal, Juice got its startup under the Gannett shield, which invested the necessary funding and resources King would need to win a grueling court battle over naming rights against O.J. Simpson following the initial publication launch.

A sleepy serum of a read, Jones’ book somehow manages to enthrall readers with all the succulent secrets behind Juice, its owners, staff and content, despite the book’s sophomoric style. “No Pulp, Please,” like Juice itself, is a guilty pleasure that will compel a curious reader to disguise the covers and spine within a different publication when “reading” it in public. APRIL FOOLS!

Kris Kelly is an unpaid intern who volunteers to be newsroom minion at Cityview. His hard work is underappreciated and often disregarded.

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