I finished Todd A’s book Being Good because, despite my whining, I had to know what happens.
Here’s the backstory. Todd self-published this book, which means that, rather than getting a dollar a book that he has to split with his agent, he gets almost everything, but has to fund his own marketing, which has got to suck. But he’s a creative guy, so he’s finding a way to make it work. To that end, he’s giving away copies of his book to whichever bloggers ask for it, in order to create some buzz, which will, he hopes, sell some books.
Will it? It should. Todd’s a great writer and I got sucked right in. This is the story of Slav O Se, an English teacher at an all girls’ school in Atlanta who has repeated run-ins with the interim head of the school and various women. Todd’s strong point is writing immediately recognizable and engaging characters that you like despite yourself.
And I could devote a whole post to the way he writes about sex and bodies in general, because it’s always funny and insightful. Here. See what I mean:
I went to the bathroom and stood over the toilet, placed one arm against the cabinet over the toilet to steady myself and let loose a powerful gush of urine. I stood like that with my face to the ceiling and my arm to the wall before I realized I wasn’t hearing any of the sounds which normally accompanied a well-deserved piss. My penis was warm but there was no splashing. I looked down and saw a swelling condom hanging tentatively over the bowl of my toilet.
How great is that?
It also makes a nice
segway segue into my minor complaints about the book. See that last “of my toilet”? Yes, we know. Trust us as readers to remember from the beginning of your paragraph to the end what your main character is peeing into. He does this quite a few times–gives you a little more information than you actually need and it can feel a little clunky.
Also, the climax. I’m torn between whether it’s a cop-out or brilliant.
I think the story at the end makes it brilliant. See, Todd includes a… epiprologue… proepilogue… a story at the end of the book that actually takes place before the action in the book.
So, you read the book and you feel like nothing has really changed for O Se, that he remains a guy that stuff happens to and around, but that he remains unable to effect real change in his own life.
Kind of. I think Todd gives you hints that O Se is a bit like his condom, damming up something very interesting, so that, when he finally gives way, it’s messy.
And the story at the end solidified that for me, that O Se is capable of change, and into someone interesting.
Ha, obviously, I suck at reviewing books.
So, here’s what I thought of it. I really, really liked it and I’d buy copies for Sarcastro, the Boy Scout, and Knucklehead if they weren’t already bloggers and could just ask for their own damn copies, because I think all three of them would get a kick out of it (or did, in Sarcastro’s case).
So, if you like the three of them or wish you were like the three of them, buy Todd’s book and support independent publishing. It’s good for you. Oh, and it’s a quick read, so you can take it into the shitter and finish it in a handful of sittings, if that’s your thing.