Washer Mouth is great stuff. It definitely rivals House of Houses for my favorite Donihe book but I think HofH might still have a slight edge. I liked a lot more about Washer Mouth than I didn't like. Actually, the only criticism I really have of it is a certain lack of verisimiltude. The book is set in Hollywood and Roy becomes an actor, but there seems to not really be a complete grasp of how that process works. This didn't really bother me. I think it can be explained by the facts that 1. Roy used to be a washing machine and, in his current human form, he is focused primarily on meeting Helen (an actress in the soap opera Sands of Eternity, which Roy watches faithfully from his convenient position in the Laundromat) 2. it's a bizarro book and the "real" world is virtually as bizarre as the fantasy world so a lot of detail or factual elements might actually detract from the story. The page numbering at the end is weird, it goes from like p. 222 to p. 226. I'm probably one of three people in the world who would notice this. No content is missing or anything, there's just the glitch in the numbering.
There is so much about the book I liked. Similar to HofH, Donihe creates a very fleshed out and satisfying bizarro book. Part of his ability to create a satisfying book lies in his blending of genres. While, overall, I would describe WM as a comedic fantasy, it also has elements of horror and suspense. In this way, his writing reminds me of Christopher Moore. Also, the humor is not based on jokes that one thinks maybe they've heard a long time ago on tv or in some movie. Donihe's humor revolves around situations. And the laughter it eventually induces is sort of a nervous laughter. I found myself suppressing laughs the entire time Roy is with Barbara. Barbara is a great, hilarious and sad, psychotic character. I found myself in much the same condition while Roy was with Samuel. In other words, I thought it was kind of funny but I was expecting something really bad to come from it. There is also a certain amount of "loft" to Donihe's prose. It almost reads like a book written in a different era which makes it even more shocking and jangling (in a good way) when Samuel is on the ground begging a circle of "freaks" to <shmuffle> on his hair.
And the overall arc of the story has a very strong moral message, while gradually building suspense. Sure, it's about a washing machine becoming a man, but it could also be a minority trying to integrate themselves into a dominant culture, it could be a gay person coming out of the closet, it could be a man becoming a woman or vice versa, it could be a child becoming an adult. It is a world that starts out simple and safe and quickly becomes very complex and dangerous. And all of this happens while, in the background, the Dark Washer wreaks havoc, Roy's mission hangs over his head, the Great Changeover is imminent, and the extremely bizarre soap opera, Sands of Eternity, continues broadcasting. All of these elements work and click into place brilliantly.
I am definitely looking forward to the next Kevin Donihe book.