Monday, July 11, 2016

Not even close to my 'normal'!

Smashed, Squashed, Splattered, 
Chewed, Chunked and Spewed 
by Lawrence Carbuncle
If this appears to be an unconventional is! 
And it reflects a rather unconventional book, at least by my standards!
Not since Apologize, Apologize has the Borders Book Club disliked a book so intensely! 
Of the five of us, three did not finish it, one did, but didn't like it, and another admitted to not liking the characters much, though she did appreciate the "sweet ending." 
This last comment left me pondering exactly why I was unable 
to overcome my dislike for each of these characters and 
their lifestyle enough to appreciate that "sweet ending." 
To call these characters dysfunctional is an extreme understatement.
What, you might ask, attracted us to this book? 
The protagonist had a dog and his relationship with the dog 
was supposedly a large part of the book.
We are usually suckers for books with dogs and/or other animals. 
I had read the first 20-30 pages and encouraged 
them to change their minds about reading it, 
but they decided to stick with our schedule. 
However, in the 6 years of this club, there have only been 
two books that virtually all but one person truly disliked. So that's not too bad, I guess...

Here is just how much I did NOT enjoy this book. Typically, I adore going back through a book I've read and rereading the passages I have noted to prepare a review. Honestly, if I never saw this book again, let alone read any of it, I would be happy. But...I will nonetheless persevere! 'Cause that's just the type person I am. (Stupid...) ;)

Upon graduation from high school, his mother sent him to visit his brother in California.
Frank lived in a cramped apartment above a head shop in the Haight-Ashbury district. (4)
Admittedly, I was already rolling my eyes. Really? What a mom... Though I suppose she felt he would either 'sink or swim' on his own... 
"Go out and have some fun tonight," Frank told me. 
"I've gotta work, but if you have any problems, get into any trouble, you me." 
Frank was always watching out for me like that. 
He gave me my first dirty magazine, my first cigarette, my first hit off a joint. 
I was six years old when Frank handed me a badly abused issue of Playboy. (5)
Being an only child, I cannot speak from experience...but do siblings really do such things to each other? Do they have no conscience with their own brother/sister? Perhaps not.

The first thing he does? Buys pills off some dude. Yep. And immediately takes one. Yikes! He has no idea what may or may not be in those things. Scary...and frankly, nothing I care to read about. He lands in the hospital for two weeks while all they can determine is that he has suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack, a mini-stroke, with no long-term damage. Though he claims some 15 years later he "ain't been right since." Ugh. This is page 15 and I'm wondering why I'm even bothering to continue...but...I do just that. Then on page 17 I think maybe this book will get better. (Finally, the dog!!)
Idjit Galoot is a velvet-eared paddle-pawed basset hound. 
He has lived in my basement with me for the past fifteen years. 
I've had him ever since he was a puppy. 
Idjit's old for a basset hound  (they have a life expectancy of about twelve years)...
You wouldn't know it though...That old dog has a zest for life. 
Maybe it's the daily beer and deviled egg I give him. 
Maybe it's the fact that I never had him fixed. (17)
Okay, I admit it. That last sentence made me smile. Oh, and this man is 35. Where does he live? Yep! His mother's basement! Can you get any more stereotypical/cliche than that? Well, yes, as a matter of fact, Mr. Carbuncle can...he also has never "held down a regular job." I was shaking my head...though perhaps he truly is disabled. 

Oh, yes, and how could I have ever forgotten the fact that they had his father  'taxidermied' (trust me, when speaking of this book, anything could be a valid word...)   and keep him sitting in a chair. Gross. Creepy. Weird. Ugh. Why am I reading this? Oh, yeah, I'm determined! <sigh> Then there's this gem of insightful information: sister, Kelli, is popping out a new baby almost annually 
and then dropping them off for Mom to take care of. (24)
And that is a fairly accurate depiction of the rest of this book. One stereotypical cliche after another. It was so predictable in certain ways, and totally bizarre in others, but almost none of the rest of the book was enjoyable. Here's the way I know. Typically I will have anywhere from 30-50 'markers' in a book I really like. At least 15-20 in a book I just like. This one? Only 8...and when I removed those, there was nothing even remotely interesting or entertaining, just rude and crude...

They get lost in Kentucky. They are arrested. He is released and drives away. By the way, they were in Kentucky because they are driving a moving truck full of his mother's possessions, from the midwest to Florida. And mom? Well, let's just say this boy has learned pretty well from his mother, who, in many ways, seems as dysfunctional as him and his friends. Though somehow she has money. Honestly, this is about all I have to say about this book that is even halfway viable...

If you appreciate a writer like Tim Dorsey, then you might also like Carbuncle's collection of totally dysfunctional/bizarre characters. It's definitely not for me. As for the "sweet ending"? I had difficulty thinking of anything in this one as "sweet." I tend more toward the member who called it "trash" and the one who stated (I'm paraphrasing), that life is too short and there are way too many other books to read. Agreed. I read it. I really tried. That's all I can do. 

Rather sorry for the time I spent reading it.

What book have you read (or DNF'd) that was such a mismatch?

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