Monday, March 24, 2008
monday book review: ovenman, by jeff parker
Antihero When Thinfinger is a bit of a loser, although a lovable one. After being kicked out of the house by his parents for accidentally getting both arms covered in horribly mangled tattoos, 15-year-old When found himself forced to take a job in fast food and has been there ever since. Although a maestro in a restaurant, he's basically hapless in everything else. He's a skater who keeps losing his boards; his bulimic girlfriend sleeps in the living room, plagued by dreams that he's trying to kill her; he's the lead singer in a band who will only let him repetitiously sing the word "Wormdevil," the band's name; and nearly every morning he finds himself reliant on the post-it notes his drunken self has affixed to his body in an effort to clue him in on the previous night's shenanigans. Although a terrible boyfriend who consistently steals here and there from the pizza restaurant that employs him, he's a fairly good guy; but when he wakes up one morning to discover a pizza box full of stolen money on his coffee table, things take a bit of a turn.

Despite being hailed as "uproariously funny," Ovenman is probably not the sort of book that would have made it into my shopping basket had it not been for my bracket in The Morning News's Tournament of Books. (Yes, it's sort of like a college basketball bracket, and yes I realize it's incredibly nerdy. Shut up.) Of course, this funky little book was quickly taken out in the first round by Denis Johnson's epic Tree of Smoke, I was intrigued at the description and figured I'd check it out.

Basically, I have this theory that there are some things that are better on airplanes. Sprite? - better on an airplane. Individual packets of peanuts or pretzels? - better on an airplane. Tiny bottles of liquor? - good, but definitely better on an airplane. Hand-held gaming devices, Sudoku puzzles, tabloid magazines, and novels by Jennifer Weiner and Helen Fielding ? - all nice enough, but for some reason far, far better when enjoyed on an airplane. It's something about the tiny, enclosed space where you are forced to sit and enjoy something completely and entirely in one sitting that makes all these things more enjoyable than they would be most anywhere else. I feel similarly about Ovenman. It was a good read, but as strange as it sounds, I have a nagging feeling that it would have been ten times better if I would have read it on an airplane. For whatever that's worth.

Ovenman, by Jeff Parker
242 pages

Labels: , , ,


Blogger Mary said...

I happen to think those little bottles of liquor are fantastic whether or not you are on an airplane. I was with my mother tonight and one would have come in mighty handy.

Post a Comment

<< Home