There are certain things in this world that make me feel...well, bad about myself. Like when some hot young twentysomething guy ignores me because I'm a thirtysomething Mommy with two kids in tow. Or when one of the girls wants me to play with them, and I can't because I'm making dinner or something, and they cry. That's bad.
But the big one is when I read a book that I know, without a shadow of a doubt, is so much better than something I ever could have written in a million years. When I'm in the presence of a talent so large, a mind so twisted and original and fascinating, that there is no way I could hope to match it.
So yeah, Happy Hour of the Damned made me feel kind of bad about myself.
But the thing is, it's almost impossible to feel bad about yourself when you're laughing so hard tears pour out of your eyes and your three-year-old is patting your knee and saying, "What's wrong, Mommy? It's okay, Mommy. Take a deep breath."
If I were as talented as Mark, I could probably come up with a dozen analogies as to how much I loved this book, each more clever and amusing than the last. But I'm not. So all I can say is I loved it. It's the most fun book I've read in years. Not just fun as in a fun story or fun characters (although it has both), but fun all-around. It's the kind of book you race through like a NASCAR driver, then when you're done realize you should have slowed down and savored it, so you turn right back to the beginning and start it again, but you can't make yourself slow down even the second time because it's just too involving. It's the kind of book you take into the shower with you and read one-handed (while you wash your hair with the other, get your minds out of the gutter.) Where you beg your husband to go to McDonald's for dinner because cooking would mean you might have to put the book down for even one minute.
And it has recipes! And footnotes! I love footnotes. And these are hilarious footnotes. Pratchett-esque footnotes (yeah, I'm comparing him to Pratchett. You will too once you've read it.) All of which serve to make Henry's heroine, Amanda Feral--who would, let's face it, be the villain in a lot of books--into someone we love and identify with so much we want to snuggle up to her and hope some of the glamour-glitter rubs off. Except she would probably eat us if we did.
I've heard it described as "Sex and the City with zombies". And that's kind of true, or would be if Sex and the City was more about characters like the woman who only allowed white food and drink in her home because of the carpet, or that guy in the first season who only had sex with models and secretly videotaped them, and less about Carrie and her endless emotional whining. (And, okay, yes, I LOVE Sex and the City. But even I have to admit Carrie got on my nerves sometimes.)
I know this isn't the greatest review in the world. I haven't even told you what the book is about, really. But so what. If you're that curious you can look at the Amazon listing or head over to Mark's blog or website. I'm just telling you to buy the book. Because if you don't you'll regret it.
I start my "Writing heroes" series next week, so make sure you don't miss it!
Friday, February 08, 2008
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