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The Green Kangaroos Paperback – 20 Aug 2014

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing (20 Aug. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0986059463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0986059469
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,659,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
When a book starts with a scene involving substance abuse by way of an injection into the testicles, you know that you’re going to be in for a strange read. This is my first high with Jessica McHugh and I sort of went into this not really having a clue what to expect. I love the cover art. I saw it and thought it would be a sci-fi-style-romp with a little bit of weird thrown into the mix. I was right to some degree with the story taking place in 2099. The story follows Perry Samson; and addict hopelessly addicted to the drug ‘Atlys’. In a nutshell, what we have is a tale about substance abuse and the effect it has upon a family.
The start of a book is so important. The reader needs to be pulled in straight away and that is exactly what happens with ‘The Green Kangaroos’. The stage is set and you are left with a want to know where the book is going. Like I said, this is the first time I have read Jessica McHugh and I really liked the writing. Not too wordy but she gives you enough to get that image inside of your brain. I often find reading sci-fi style fiction that writers spend far too much time describing the world at the expense of the story. This is not the case here, with McHugh keeping the pacing fast and the story at the forefront. At times the writing is really good and there are some brilliantly written passages where McHugh describes such horrible things with a real literary flair.
There are some terrific ideas inside of this novel. The idea of a smokehouse where people sell lumps of their flesh for drugs is bizarre, yet unsettling and shows that McHugh has a wild imagination. ‘The Green Kangaroos’ is a hard book to categorise, not that it needs to be put into a category, but people like to know what they are letting themselves in for.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does he love drugs more than he loves his family 16 Feb. 2015
By David Bridges - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Set in drug infested Baltimore, Perry Samson battles his addiction and his demons. Samson has graduated to the strongest drug available "Atlys". The drug is so impossibly addictive society has given up the thin shred of hope for recovery that existed for those addicted. Without the burden of recovery for Atlys addicts society has segregated users to the parks of the city. Not only has society given up on Perry, his family and friends have too. With one exception, his sister. Perry's life continues to spiral out of control until his sister intervenes. The lines between reality and drug fueled delusions become blurred beyond recognition when Perry's sister puts him in a radical new treatment that garuntees 100% success. That is 100% recovery for those that survive. Will Perry survive? Does he love drugs more than he loves his family?

Green Kangaroos is an awesome sci-fi noir that pierces right to the heart of the addicts plight. There is some great social commentary but there is also a great story about family and how addiction complicates relationships with friends and family.

Jessica Mchugh holds nothing back in Green Kangaroos and I love her for it. The book is brutal and violent at times but so is the reality of an addict. I work with homeless addicts in Washington DC and sanitizing their lives only cheapens their struggle. If you like fast paced science fiction read Green Kangaroos. I am definitely a certified Mchugh fan and I can't wait to see what she has coming up next!
4.0 out of 5 stars More than just a drug novel 16 Jan. 2017
By Daulton Dickey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When you're trapped in the cycle of addiction, where drugs transcend a good time and dominate your life, your existence, where every action you takes is predicated on scoring the next bag, the next hit, the next taste, everything in your life--indeed your life itself transforms, in a sense, into your periphery, there's nothing you won't do to score. In chasing his drug of choice, the fictional atlys, Perry Samson does the unthinkable: he sells chunks of his flesh. It's a desperate move, one frowned on by even the lowliest of drug addicts. In the world of The Green Kangaroos by Jessica McHugh, those who sell their meat--to an upscale restaurant of all places--are viewed as the lowliest of lows, even by those in the grip of atlys addiction. Set in the waning years of the 21st century, The Green Kangaroos starts as a classic drug novel. But it quickly descends into a Philip K. Dicksian landscape of questionable or ambiguous reality.

On reading the opening chapter, one thing strikes you: the voice. This is a narrator so fully realized that you, at times, forget it's a work of fiction. His attitude, his drive, his personal lexicon, his overwhelming desire to court, and succumb to, his addiction, feels plucked from the pages of a memoir. Nothing is off limits here; no taboos are too sacred to avoid. Drugs and violence, sex and desire--all consume the Perry, who alternates between these desires and his drive to score the next hit. It's an unflinching look at the depths and depravities concomitant to drug addiction.

But this isn't simply a Fear & Loathing-esque tale of excess; instead, it's a morality play, an existential dirge, and, most importantly, a family drama. Perry's relationship to his ex-wife and, crucially, his sister, grounds the novel in a pathos missing from some drug novels.

Then there are the dicksian elements. Without giving too much away, or spoiling several big reveals, I'll just say that this is, in part a science fiction novel dealing with questions of reality and the ethics of advanced medical and scientific technology.

Equal parts drug novel, dystopian fiction, science fiction, and meditations on family and reality, The Green Kangaroos is a novel that grabs you from the opening paragraph and doesn't let go until it races toward the climax. It's a masterful novel that isn't without it's flaws: for me, the denouement was a little too protracted, and the epilogue inspired mixed feelings. On reading it, I felt misgivings, as if it was tacked on simply for the sake of creating a twist ending; but the more I thought about it, the more it occurred to me that it was a commentary on the nature of drug addiction and the personality types susceptible to slipping into that spiral.

Jessica McHugh is one of the more exciting writers working today. Her confidence, her voice, her ability to create compelling characters and worlds, and her embrace of the offensive, grotesque, and obscene makes her a rare writer these days, one willing to tackle any subject as honestly as possible.

Overall, it's a fantastic novel.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars wicked good read with depth 1 April 2015
By Bacterialover - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
With a plot tapped into addiction and attempts at recovery, The Green Kangaroos is an intense, inventive look into selfishness at its most extreme, most ugly. Like A Clockwork Orange it is less about the horror of the deviant and more about the horrors perpetrated by those trying to correct the deviancy. The year is 2099 and Perry Samson is unapologetically addicted to atlys, a powerful drug that is most potently euphoric with injection straight into the sexual organs, in Perry's case the testicles. Even as Perry steps deeper into self-destructive depravity to attain fixes of atlys-induced happiness, his younger sister (with the help of their parents) pursues a radical recovery treatment for Perry in the undying hope that her brother can be reformed.

Works dealing with the powerful gravity of addiction and the dangers that it can bring directly to the addict or indirectly to friends, family, even strangers aren't uncommon. What sets apart McHugh's novel is the consideration that the agendas of those trying to cure the addict may be just as defined by destructively addictive tendencies, to a selfishness just as violent. Perry is generally unlikable, crass, and utterly selfish. Yet, he possesses a strong, honest self-perception. Atlys is a drug that makes him feel unbelievably happy, that fuels desires and centers him, regardless of whether it is helping or hurting him. Perry understands his predicament, that using this aptly named drug as a means of navigating through his existence is ultimately poisonous and destructive. He is fully aware that his need is pushing him further into situations he wouldn't have considered before - including selling his flesh literally ('potsticking') and figuratively (prostitution) to fund some more of the drug. While he regularly lies to others to suit his desires, never does Perry lie to himself.

In contrast are the members of Perry's family, particularly his little sister Nadine. Nadine is shown as firmly committed to the idea of saving her brother, but the matter of her motivations is less clear. She seeks out a new treatment option that to any rational person would be clearly too-good-to-be-true. Despite having a sense of this deep down, Nadine (and the parents) lie to themselves with the righteousness of their hopes and goals, and ignore any sense of dangers. They avoid asking questions or fully recognizing their predicament (or Perry's) in the care of the doctors who run the recovery program. As the novel progresses it becomes increasingly clear that Nadine is not really looking for Perry's salvation, but rather is pursuing her own selfish desires to have a 'normal', non-addict brother. She will lie to herself, risk herself and others to attain this state of happiness. Not wanting to reveal too much of the plot, the main doctor at the treatment facility has gone through the similar extremes of an addiction to the recovery process at the cost of anything, including the bodies of those he seeks to help.

McHugh's The Green Kangaroos is thus a really perceptive and profound novel despite its short length and the gritty crassness of its subjects. The futuristic setting and speculative aspects of the recovery program are well imagined and integrated into the plot. At first given its setting in 2099 I wanted to see more of what general society was like, how it was different other than the bits of underworld jargon and environment that McHugh shows. But soon I realized the tight limitation of revealing this universe to Perry's world and the institution of recovery help keep the focus of the novel intense, tight.

The language is certainly not something that will be to everyone's taste. It is frequently vulgar and visceral in its depictions of sex and drugs in the underbelly of society. Yet, this shouldn't be surprising for the topic or style of McHugh and this novel's setting. In terms of the writing, there were a few instances where dialogue in particular seemed forced, the only critique to this that I can reasonably perceive. At first some of the similes feel too absurd, too much like provoking for reaction. However, I quickly realized these occur in Perry's first person point of view chapters, and he is simply that kind of guy. McHugh's writing definitely shines though in her descriptive passages. You can tell she has a love for words, and I most love the playfulness of her prose. This is really what drew me to her work originally. For instance, right from the start with the prologue, she plays on the word 'junk' in its multiple meanings and then parallels that at the start of chapter one with our introduction to Perry. McHugh's imagination is strong and energetic, and she constructs a story well here from the words on up to the plot and themes. I'll look forward to reading more, even when it is a genre or style that isn't at the top of my usual reading tastes.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Again, I have found myself left in awe, ... 21 Aug. 2014
By Mandy Kidd - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Again, I have found myself left in awe, left with emotions so familiar. Jessica has once again pulled me into the lives of her characters, pulled me into experiences and and emotions so familiar and I cannot help but want more. As masochistic as it always is. I find myself done, less than 24 hours after buying "The Green Kangaroos," ... wishing the end of the story could be my own.
5.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre as hell 22 May 2017
By Sarah G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Super on point with the addict complex. Great writing, great characters. Bizarre world in there. I loved it. Try it, it's addicting.
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