Monday, July 12, 2010

A weekend at the Cottage ...

So this past weekend was the annual cottage trip for my boyfriend's friends. This is the ... 8th year they are doing (since, like 17?) and every year (I have only gone to three despite knowing them for 7 years) they seem to get rowdier and crazier - but funnily enough, not any drunker. Go figure. Anyways, there is a point to this, I swear. The boys have traditionally been dominant (except last year where it was 50/50), and though girls have infiltrated the ranks (there were 6 of us this year KAIVIN are our initials funnily enough ... played way too much Boggle this weekend) it is really a guy's weekend. With seven of them this weekend, it was an array of penis jokes (I mean, really - lots of penis jokes), lewd sexual commentary (again, imagine the worst most graphic, then double it - or triple it, and then imagine it again), people staring at my chest and asking me to jump so they jiggle, and rounds of chess, Settlers of Catan, Boggle, and some When Harry Met Sally.

Now to the point: One of my bf's friends, EB - he and I like the same type of books. We only discovered this when I saw him with Neil Gaiman's American Gods at the cottage last year. Then I was all up in his face about books. We then discovered that we have read a lot of the same books, and now he is my go-to on books for cottage weekend. Anyways, last week I sent him an email asking if I could borrow The Girl Who Played with Fire for the cottage weekend. Unfortunately, he had loaned it to a coworker who was taking an absurdly long time with it and thus could not bring it. But, he promised, I'll bring you something just as good.

So everyone got to the cottage on Wednesday to Thursday morning, except my car - where me, the BF and a friend J, were crammed with stuff and we got there Thursday night (after, like, no traffic and a long discussion on Eric Clapton vs. whatever the hell I had on my iPod) and we alternatively gushing about Blood Promise and Soon I will be Invincible - which generated enough interest from my two captives that I was asked about what else I had read (note, J asked me. Not the bf. He sighed and tried to ward off J's questions claiming that once started, I never shut up). I get out of the car with all my stuff (and a drunk - totally hammered - bf's bestie, DC, running at me and enveloping me in hairy Italian man arms) and E swipes a book from behind his back and leers down at me with something like bottled up excitement. I know that look. It is the same look I get when I am handing down something good to a friend of mine to read - it means there will be anxious discussion later. So I snatch the book and look at the cover:

Oh yes. This looks good. Epically good. I thank him and pull it to my chest and scamper off with dreams of the awesomeness.

And it didn't disappoint.

However, I must warn you - it took me two days to read (going to bed at 5am after drinking way too much and dancing around and bonfires and ... stuff I don't remember to clearly, distracts a body) and it was like reading an epic version of cottage weekend - it was swearing, penis jokes, male bonding over boobs, and lots of grossness. But it was epically good.

Without further ado: The John Dies at the End review!

It’s a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and users can drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human.

Suddenly a silent, otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs.

Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity?

No. No, they can’t.

That synopsis was from the author's website, which can be found here: . It is an adult only website (love those!) and it is awesome, too. There are also apparently movie plans and a second book to tantalize me. And does that synopsis not give you shivers and make you want to read it?


Right, just me ... whatever.

Anyways, the story begins somewhere in the middle - or at least, close enough to the middle to call it a middle. It begins with a puzzle - a mind game, the main character David Wong, throws out there for you about buying axe handles and blades after killing a bug man and a slug,and then rekilling the bugman the next summer, because, well he came back. It's the sauce, man. The sentient sauce.

That's the prologue, really, A jumbled up mess. Anyways, the real meat of it begins when David gets interviewed by Arnie - a reporter who wants the inside scoop on the insanity that is David's life. So David tells him. And in comes a wild ride.

The reason I like this book is probably because it reminds me of the boys at the cottage. What I mean is that the plot rolls along, just quickly moving past things, going forward fast enough to keep it interesting a la Trainspotting, but not fast enough to lose you in the details - and there are loads of details. The language and the comedy bits are refreshing and the fact that it uses an unreliable narrative makes it masterful.

The unreliable narrative is a new thing of mine, so maybe I am a tad biased, but in this case I think it is the only way to deliver this story. I mean, the whole point is that there is never any proof - just David's word. And every time he is questioned or he brings evidence, it is somehow discounted. It is excellent.

And funny.

Did I mention that?

I think that funny book are usually underestimated. Like romance books, the highbrows (ugh, much?) of society push funny books to the side, unless they're written by British ex-Pats with that dry British wit or a comedian whose already made a bazillion dollars. Too bad though, since Absurdist fiction is probably the best type of social commentary - for me anyway. Next to zombies.

And the thing is, with this book I have yet to latch onto a firm strand of social commentary. Rather, I think what this is about is just enjoyment.

I highly recommend it!



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