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The Learners by Chip Kidd
The Learners, a sequel to Chip Kidd's The Cheese Monkeys, finds the protagonist, Happy, graduating from college in 1961 and finding a job as a graphic designer at an ad agency in New Haven, far from the cutthroat world of advertising in New York. One of his first assignments is to do an ad for Dr. Stanley Milgram's memory testing program at Yale University, where "teachers" give an electric shock to "learners" when they get a memory question wrong. Unknown to Happy, though, is that the learners are actors and no shocks are given. When Happy gets a chance to be one of the teachers, things appear to go very wrong. The Learners has received mostly positive reviews with USA Today saying, "Kidd has a number of goals and tricks in mind, and some of them do clash. But unlike many contemporary comic novelists, he's smart enough to tie his new-fangled gimmicks to some old-fashioned virtues: sympathetic characters, funny lines, a firm grasp of time and place, and a plot that makes surprising shifts without ever losing its way."