Thursday, March 18, 2010

A book recommendation

I just finished an amazing book this afternoon - Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. Wow. It's a BookCrossing book - as you see - and it's gotten very varied responses from its readers. Some who absolutely loved it and some who couldn't even get through it. I'm in the first group. This book was just ... wow. It's not perfect, it does have its flaws ... like for instance I believe a lot more in the sections of the book that are looking back to the past than I do in those parts that are present day. Which I have to say is maybe seriously weird. :-D Anyway ...

I'm going to do a video review of this book very soon (and of course I will post that on my Youtube channel) but right now I just have to rave about it a little. Geek Love is the story of a very unusual family, the Binewskis. The father is a carny, like his father before him, the mother is a former geek and the children - two sons and three daughters - are freaks. Real live freaks of nature. The oldest son is a human worm, the oldest daughters are conjoined twins, the youngest daughter - our narrator - is an albino hunchbacked dwarf, and the youngest son ... well, what is he? Read the book and find out. ;-)

The book is very well written and the narrator is absolutely fascinating. Dunn is a very gifted writer. She has written three other novels; I will definitely try to get hold of those. This one sounds kind of cheesy, like leaning towards social pornography ... but it's not, I didn't get that feeling at all reading it. It actually made me think quite a lot about the whole concept of the freak and society's reaction to such people. The Binewski children have very little contact with 'norms' as they call us and are quite nervous of us ... they see themselves as the lucky ones and normal people as burdened and unfortunate. It was an interesting take on it.

It also made me think of that old movie, Freaks ... Tod Browning's big project, his dream project in a way, but also the movie that destroyed his career. It's a classic now though, and deservedly so. He made it in 1932 and he used real freaks to play his rather unusual set of characters in the movie. He at one point said something about this movie that I think is so poignant ... namely that in fifty years from now, or however long he said, this movie cannot possibly be made, because people like these will no longer exist. Ie, they will no longer be born. Rather prescient in light of what later happened ... and how our society has become now. Who are the real freaks, I wonder ... :-)


Anonymous said...

How geekish is it of me to automatically read the title as "Greek love"....? :D

Leisha Camden said...

You really need to talk to a professional ... :-D