ISBN #: 978-0670025343
Page Count: 352
Copyright: February 7, 2013
Publisher: Viking Adult
(Taken from Amazon)
The protagonist of Ron Currie, Jr.'s new novel has a problem - or rather, several of them. He's a writer whose latest book was destroyed in a fire. He's mourning the death of his father, and has been in love with the same woman since grade school, a woman whose beauty and allure is matched only by her talent for eluding him. Worst of all, he's not even his own man, but rather an amalgam of fact and fiction from Ron Currie's own life.
When Currie the character exiles himself to a small Caribbean island to write a new book about the woman he loves, he eventually decides to fake his death, which turns out to be the best career move he's ever made. But fame and fortune come with a price, and Currie learns that in a time of twenty-four-hour news cycles, reality TV, and celebrity Twitter feeds, the one thing the world will not forgive is having been told a deeply satisfying lie.
What kind of distinction could, or should, be drawn between Currie the author and Currie the character? Or between the book you hold in your hands and the novel embedded in it? Whatever the answers, Currie, an inventive writer always eager to test the boundaries of storytelling in provocative ways, has essential things to impart along the way about heartbreak, reality, grief, deceit, human frailty, and blinding love.
This is a story about a man who is obsessively in love with a, seemingly, unattainable woman. Finally realizing his futility and recovering from the loss of his father, Ron moves to a Caribbean island in hopes of "moving on." In an attempted suicide that fails as miserably as his life, Ron decides to just disappear, and in doing so, becomes a huge literary success. Eventually, he is found out and must face his choices.
<Insert big sigh here> I have to honestly say this was very hard for me to finish. I almost gave up in the first few pages, as the writing style is too loose for my liking, and Mr. Currie has a derogatory way of speaking in regards to women, and sex, in general. As a reviewer that dislikes giving a bad review, I plunged ahead.
Mr. Currie's novel seems fixated on, in equal parts, Emma, the source of his angst, and the Singularity, which may or may not have been important to this story. I tended to gloss over the Singularity rants, so I can't truly give an honest opinion. What resounded with me throughout the story were his writings about his dad's passing. Especially poignant to me, on page 183, were his thoughts regarding his father and a salsa expiration date:
And I read the date, and thought about it a minute, and realized suddenly that in all likelihood this container of salsa had a longer shelf life than my own personal father.
The "dad" stories seemed genuine and heart-felt, and would have made a terrific story in and of themselves. The rest, however, I could have done without. To quote Mr. Currie, yet again, in speaking of the betrayal of self:
To smile through a movie you loathe ... is a betrayal of self.
I did grin and bear Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles, but I have to say, I felt a bit cheap for trying so hard to enjoy it. Maybe someone else would better appreciate Mr. Currie's style. It isn't exactly "bad," just not my "cup o' tea."
*A paperback copy of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.