Dark humor, cringe-worthy moments of horror,
bizarre, unbelievable, off-the-wall, but compelling and confusing, this is a book I never thought I would recommend.
Voice - a compelling, authentic voice - is what gets me
to read books I'd normally never go near. The author is a founding member of a band called "Butthole Surfers" - that should have stopped me, right? And on the cover, a dog has a severed hand in its mouth. Well, I had to know whose hand it was, so I got the book - against all my better judgment - and started reading.
We find out in the prologue how the hand got detached from its owner (hint: the dog didn't do it!), so I could have stopped reading before I got to Chapter One. But I kept reading all the way to the end. And I laughed. Out loud. At stuff that should not amuse a mother whose mission in life is to keep her children from doing the stuff Oscar does. Oscar, the first-person POV narrator, is only age seventeen but he's hosting parties with illegal substances and profiting from it, and dodging the cops, and doing a number of insanely risky things.
The dialogue cracked me up - I posted a photo from the funniest chapter because my Kindle has spoiled me and I hate typing things out by hand now. "His may-outh," the woman with the southern accent says. Why was that funny? Why was I reading this book? Because the VOICE of this teenage protagonist reeled me in and I couldn't put the book down.
I don't want to talk about the second-to-the-last chapter, or even think about it, and thanks to the forbidden SPOILER alert, I'm off the hook there. But I have to say the last chapter kinda-sorta makes it all ok, but not really, not for this middle-aged mother of three.
Oscar and his friend Lytle and his incredibly awesome friend Carla, the inventor, take the reader on a wild ride. Mr. Cigar is an awesome dog. We never find out precisely what the government experiments were about, but we do know Mr. Cigar will evade his would-be captor. (Trust me, that was not a spoiler - you have no idea HOW this dog will continue to evade the military experiments.)
If you like unconventional, unpredictable, off-the-wall stories, this book is for you--no matter how many kids you've raised without a jail sentence or every mother's worst fears being realized. What happens in this story is so wild, one can only hope the whole thing was a hallucination and none of this stuff actually happened. It's a trip. And I can't believe I liked it.
NOTE: Amazon rejected my original review, and then rejected my revised review (which I forgot to copy/save somewhere), so what you just read was my THIRD version. Yeah. I had to type an all-new review. (Ugh.) Here is Version One, just FYI. No, I don't expect anyone to read it. But it's here for the record.
Amazon, you don't deserve me!
The author's wife just tweeted that she likes my Goodreads review. I kid you not.
My husband wrote a book. Here’s a spot-on review. Thanks, Carol Kean.
Here is the first, the original, REJECTED REVIEW
Random phrases often make me think "That'd be a great name for a rock band," but not Butthole Surfers. Ugh. No.
I've not yet called them up on You-Tube. Normally by now I would have, knowing the book I'm reading was written by a rock star (or any kind of musician). Had I flipped through pages of this book in a store, the line drawings alone would have had me thinking "too middle school for me."
Ahhh, but juvenile delinquent stupidity and good times have a certain allure.
I read the book, in spite of the severed hand on the cover. Or maybe because of it. I had to know whose hand it was, and how it came to be in the mouth of that dog.
The answer comes in the prologue, so I could have quit reading before I even got to Chapter One. But this teenage boy narrating this story has a fresh, original voice, and it was so compelling, he kept me listening to his crazy, drug-induced tales. It was like being at a party where everyone is stoned and describing their hallucinations--except, I've never done that, so this got me as close to experiencing it as I'll ever get. And if what happened in the second-to-last chapter really did happen, I'm totally not "going there," trip-wise. (Pass the molly to the next guest at the party; count me out.)
Molly. Parties hosted by a teenager who hires a clown. Dodging the police. Getting out of one tight situation after another. This teen protagonist sounds like a 60-something guy boasting of his crazy youthful exploits, but not really, because Oscar's voice (or that of Gibby Haynes) is more original and entertaining.
We see Mr. Cigar kicked and abused in the prologue, but he recovers, more or less, and I kept reading to the very end. I'm still kinda blinking in surprise that I did this.
There's a visual impact to this book, an artistry involving white space and page layout. Only one chapter is more than two pages long. Some are less than one page long. In a paperback, this is a carbon footprint one can hardly justify, but ok, we get a lot of blank pages here, and it is somehow fitting. Thank you, trees, for your sacrifice.
A lot of this story is really funny - you'd think it's a "You had to be there" kind of humor, but I laughed out loud, which very few books ever make me do despite the "LOL" shorthand we all use.
Carla is totally awesome, a woman with tech-skills and inventions that the military would kill for (and maybe did). Any 17-year-old with a friend like her is beyond lucky. Oscar and his pal Lytle accidentally flee as certain bad scene with one of Carla's inventions, but in Ferris Buehler style, they put her devive to excellent use. Or really brainless, hazardous, unfortunate, yet oddly successful use. I don't know how to describe this book without spoilers or judgment. I am a mother. Three children - all of whom survived to adulthood - even though one of them AFTER college took part in that bizarre hobby of Millennials, jumping from bridges into dirty rivers in the dark of night. More than one mother's child who survived the teen years has died of a bacteria that got into the bridge-jumper's ear, but teenagers and 20-somethings are immortal.
Mr. Cigar and Oscar seem to be immortal, but like the narrative itself, this is hazy.
We never find out what military experiment might involve Mr. Cigar, but exposing the truth isn't the point of this story. Someone is out to get Mr. Cigar for some nefarious purpose, and Oscar will keep running with his extraordinary dog, and we'll never know what our government was up to in regards to this dog, and it's ok. In the end, no matter what happened (I'm not the only one blinking and wondering), it's all ok. Pass me a cigar. Live in the now. Enjoy the ride. It's trippin'.
I'm still shaking my head in disbelief: I read this story in which a teenage boy does things I prayed God my own children would never do, and I laughed with him during his most ill-conceived and egregious adventures.
Call me crazy.
Amazon hid my review of Ken Lizzi's Boss? I hate Amazon!!!!!
"Review Hidden by Sensitivity Filter"
Ok, False Alarm,
I don't know why my Reviewer Profile page showed the weird message, but the review does appear at the site:
Last year I was in the Top 5,000.
Then I was banned.
Then my reviewing "privileges" returned but I was in the Bottom TenMillion.
Reviewer ranking today:
#music #party #dog #conspiracy #governmentconspiracy #freewritehouse #oc #appreciator #esteem #reading #writing #writingbookreviews #AmazonSux