Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles

Book Review

Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles by Ron Currie, Jr.

I don't exactly remember how I ended up with this book.

I must have been in the library. I ended up with a library copy of the book.

I must have been standing in front of the New Releases shelf. I ended up with a copy labeled, "NEW".

But now, months (?) later, I can't remember.

Sometimes, I browse through a recent copy of Bookmarks magazine while at the library. Ah, at the library, check.

Sometimes, while browsing Bookmarks, I read snippets of reviews that point me to books to read. Maybe this was it. Check?

Sometimes, I browse the library website, looking at new releases.

Maybe it was just different enough that I had to try it out.

I just can't remember how I ended up with this book.

I haven't been paying very much attention to these things lately. Other matters have been pressing on my mind. For months now.

Now, it is time to get busy reviewing this book. It's never too late for that.

Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles

Mark my words. This book is Pulitzer material.

I have found that I am not a fan of Pulitzer prize winners. Not recent ones, at least. All of the recent Pulitzer prize winners that I have read have been a mystery to me. Why did they win?

Just because I think "Plastic Miracles" might be Pulitzer material and that I don't like Pulitzer winners much, don't assume that I didn't like this book. It is, well... just... different. Let me try to explain.

Recent Pulitzer winners seem to be common in that they are very disjointed stories. Not chronological, not continuous, not linear, not tractable. I usually don't care for these kinds of stories. And they usually win literary awards, in spite of my dislikes.

Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles is one of these disjointed stories. A neurotic writer. A house fire. A death of a father. An obsessive attachment to a lost love. A twice-lost love. A faked death. And only small, disconnected bits of it told chronologically.

But you are led by the words to know just a hint of what is coming. It is enticing. You know something is up, but you don't know what and can't guess how you will get there or how the protagonist got there. This is especially well done. No surprises in where the story goes, but plenty of uncertainty of how you will get there.

That feels like a different kind of suspense. Not Hitchcock suspense. A tamer, milder, patient kind of suspense. Suspenseful disconnect.

That's it. Suspenseful disconnect.

Did I mention that this was very well done?

And I loved the name of the book. Maybe this is what drew me in. I just might have had to know what it meant. Yep, it is in the book. But I'm still (or have I given up?) figuring out how the meaning of the title is relevant to the book as a whole.

Maybe it isn't. Maybe I'm searching in vain. I think that might just be so.

The critics seem to have labeled Currie an "inventive" writer. Why? Because he doesn't write chronologically? Because he throws in some less-than-tasteful details? Because he blurs the lines between author and protagonist? I don't know. I'm not a critic.

But I do critique.

And I liked this book. And that surprised me. Not my usual. But good.

If all this sounds interesting to you, get ready. Get ready to jump between locations and times and story lines. Get ready for some indelicate writing. Not bad writing. Just indelicate.

Get ready to read! For whatever reason, remembered or not.

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