Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars John Lives, 18 Feb 2014
This review is from: John Dies At The End (Kindle Edition)
I have no idea who David Wong is, or if that's even his real name--apparently he's a comedian, this is his debut novel, and he previously wrote for National Lampoon's. But don't let that put you off.

I think I read over half of this novel before I gave up. And that's pretty good for me. For a long time I was hooked on this book, then it lost steam. It's the story of David Wong (same name as the author, in case you didn't work that out), and he's some kind of--I don't actually know. This book doesn't really have a plot I can recount. And it's a hard book to define: comedy-horror? There's a lot of weird, messed up, ghostly-netherworld stuff that happens, but it's all within a framework of humour. Basically this guy's pricked by a needle with a soy sauce substance that allows him to be a vessel for the underworld.

Plot issues aside, the parts I read were funny, well-written, sharp, and intelligent. This David Wong guy (whether that's his name or not), is a talented writer, and I'll definitely read his next novel. I think the reason I gave up on this book is that it didn't seem to be going anywhere. It built to a climax, and then tried to start all over again, build up from the start into a NEW climax.

It bugged me.

But upon research, I discovered the reason for the disjointed narrative and the sporadic plot: the novel was originally written as a series of episodes on the author's web site, which explains why it seems pretty random at some points. He's essentially stitched together a bunch of short stories, all with the same characters, and written a few extra scenes to make the transition from story to story appear seamless and intended, which it wasn't.

So in conclusion: this is a smart, twisted, hugely imaginative novel, with a great sense of humour at its core, and plenty of well-rounded characters. And even though I didn't finish it, I'd still recommend checking it out.

There are enough gems amongst the mess to warrant a read.

Here are some parts I liked:

--(We can) pile together everything we know and care about in the universe and it will still be nothing more than a tiny speck in the middle of a vast black ocean of Who Gives A F***.

--Imagine fifty thousand men trapped on a desert island, deprived of food and water and sex but somehow kept alive for fifty thousand years. Then, after they've been tormented a hundred steps beyond insanity, tortured past self-mutilation and cannibalism, somebody drops off a sculpture of a naked woman made from T-bone steaks. If you could then capture the sound of them simultaneously f***ing and eating and tearing her to shreds and broadcast it into the centre of your skull at ten thousand watts, it would still sound absolutely nothing like what I heard.

--"Every man is blessed with his gifts from the Lord. One of mine happens to be a penis large enough that, if it had a penis of its own, my penis's penis would be larger than your penis."
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