Skip to main content

Cannonball Read 2 #29: Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey by Chuck Palahniuk

I have always enjoyed Chuck Palahniuk's work, so I'm not sure I can really give an objective opinion on this book. Then again, I don't think an objective opinion of his work is really possible--it seems that people either love him or hate him (and most people know which category they fall into before even finishing one of his books.) If his weird, clipped, style that starts out odd and then continues to spiral out into complete insanity is for you (as it is for me) then you are willing to follow him wherever he decides to go. If you're not a fan, his outlandish and in-your-face books are gratuitous and obnoxious and completely nonsensical.

Rant is the tale of Buster Casey--a young man raised in a small town, whose favorite pastimes included sniffing sanitary waste, sticking boogers to his wall, and being bitten by dangerous creatures. He goes on to move to the city, where his behavior starts a snowballing disaster...culminating in a world-wide plague of rabies and city wide quarantines.

The fascinating thing about this work is that it's set up as an oral history--the entire story fashioned out of snippets of "interviews" with people who knew Rant. At the time the book is written, Rant is ostensibly deceased, so we never hear his version of events--only the views of his family, friends, acquaintances, various "experts," philosophers, scientists, and average citizens. It's an interesting way to portray a character--always from the point of view of other people. Plus, it allows a certain amount of leeway as to the events described--most of Palahniuk's books are written in first person, so he's limited to what the narrator sees and knows--here he is at liberty to bring in characters who will know every aspect of a situation.

The plot, once again, begins normally enough and then somehow rockets its way off into a land of intentional car wrecks, murder, and time travel (because, of course, time travel!) For those who prefer their literature to be more "realistic," this book (like all of Palahniuk's work, really) is NOT RECOMMENDED. However, for those whose view of reality has a little more wiggle room, I though this was tremendous.


Popular posts from this blog

CR3 # 17: Mount Misery by Samuel Shem

Mount Misery is the sequel to Samuel Shem's first book, House of God (review here). It follows Dr. Roy Basch as he leaves the House of God and moves to psychiatric hospital Mount Misery to begin his psychiatric residency. Unfortunately, it turns out that psychiatrists are just as crazy, confused, and often detrimental as medical doctors. As Dr. Basch cycles through the various sectors of the hospital (talk therapy, admissions, Freudian Analysis, drug therapy) he is horrified to discover that it seems everything he is being taught is not only wrong, but potentially dangerous. He begins to fall into terrible patterns of behavior, mirroring the problems his patients are having. Each area is worse than the last, with one doctor who thinks the best way to treat is to be aggressively hostile, one who cares only about insurance premiums and efficiency, one who treats with silence and "regression," and one who thinks the only viable treatment is to pump every patient full of exp…

CBR9 #5 Borgin Keep by Ron Ripley

I've read the entire Berkeley Street series, as well as the Haunted series, and I think this was definitely one of the better offerings. This time, former Marine Shane and his slowly growing band of willing (and unwilling) ghost hunting allies face their biggest challenge yet. While the ghosts of Borgin Keep are both very dangerous and very evil, Shane also must keep one step ahead of The Watchers, a ruthless and powerful organization who find him to be a threat to their shadowy goals.

As always, for me the best part are the characters. Shane and his ghost-hunting partner Frank (a former soldier/former monk) are joined once again by police detective Marie LaFontaine, who is a very tough woman determined to avenge a dead friend. I'm not as fond of Shane's girlfriend Courtney, but I understand her uses as far as character development.

The plot moves along quickly, and I found this book a little better fleshed out than a few of the previous ones in the series -- while I enjoye…

CBR9 #3: Missing Wives, Missing Lives by JJ Slate

There's a lot of discussion these days about things that are dangerous to women--is it heart disease? Is it stress? Car accidents? Drugs? Serial killers? Trans women in bathrooms?--but it seems like one of the biggest hazards to women are the men in their lives.

This book details the cases of thirty women who vanished. Stretching back to 1976, and with cases as recent as 2007, the women featured in this book seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth, never to be seen again. For some, the legal system was able to prove a case against the men in their lives, but for others, the search for justice may never be resolved.

The amazing thing to me was the stories that the husbands gave upon their wives' disappearances. "So, you had a fight, and she just left the house--at 3am. In her pajamas. Barefoot. Without her purse, or her glasses, or her car, or her TEETH? Leaving her small dependent children behind. And you decided to say nothing for three weeks? And while she was gon…