Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cordelia Strube's Planet Reese

When I was a kid, I would check every display rack of knickknackery that featured objects with the possibility of having your name on it. Gift shops and tourist shops would have racks of coffee cups or bracelets or shot glasses or Christmas ornaments with names like Sue or David or Mary or John, but they never had a Reese. I felt both cheated and thrilled by this fact. It was pretty thrilling to have a unique name, but I wasn't entirely bold or self-confident enough to carry it off, so I wouldn't have minded that little bit of reassurance that I wasn't a complete freak. I survived though, even without my Reese bracelet.

But I mention that because it means the moment I saw a book called Planet Reese in a bookstore, it was pretty much inevitable I buy it, and buy it I did. The book came out in 2007, and it entered my library not long after that. As it turned out, that it had my name on it didn't mean I had to read it right away; if I'd finally found that coffee cup with my name on it, it would have gotten a lot more use in the meantime. But that's what TBR challenges are for, and I pulled it off the shelf.

The Reese in Cordelia Strube's Planet Reese is a boy Reese; it's necessary to specify, especially these days, since Reese Witherspoon seems to have made Reese a popular girl's name. If I'd known when I was six Reese could be either a boy's or a girl's name, I would have demanded my parents change it immediately. It may have been just as well it was lesser-used.

The novel's Reese is a manager of a phone bank dialing in support of donations to environmental causes. He's also a rather humorless personal supporter of environmental causes, and this is putting a strain on his marriage to the point where he's separated from his wife and estranged from his children. His parents are aging, unwell, and constantly quarrelling. His life is coming apart.

This is supposed to grab me, says the blurb on the back. The blurb on the back then tells me it's a darkly and wickedly funny story, and while I can testify to the dark, I'm having a hard time with the funny. I remained pretty much ungrabbed. To say I finished it isn't really quite right: I skimmed some parts (I could do that without missing any plot elements pretty easily) but it's now definitely off my TBR list. And instead of complaining about how slow and unfunny it was for a post, I wrote a little biography...

And I will say it was a little strange reading a book about a character with my name. Maybe for serious readers named Jane or John, this is not so unusual an occurrence, but it definitely felt a bit weird to me.

My Reader's Block Mount TBR Challenge.

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