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The Story of Charlotte's Web: E. B. White's Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic
Michael Sims
The Oxford Companion to Beer
SPOILER ALERT!

Busy Monsters

Busy Monsters: A Novel - William Giraldi

I didn't really have any expectations coming into this book, which may have made the experience that much better. The whole thing came as somewhat of a surprise.

 

The way Charlie Homar speaks and writes is melodramatic, verbose, often pretty funny. The novel mirrors his serialized memoirs that he writes throughout the adventure, and there are hints that the novel might actually be what's being published in the New Nation Weekly. For instance, almost every character speaks in the same distinctive tone as Homar, and one character actually points that out, saying that normal people don't talk that way. The idea that Homar is narrating his everyday for publication is a reflection of the self-referential micro-blogging that is modern social networking. Homar stometimes tries to prevent people from reading the things he has chosen to publish - a parallel to the person who posets to Facebook and then crows about privacy. 

 

Elements of the story certainly resemble Vonnegut (as touted on the back cover). There's a flawed anti-hero; precise and blackly funny language; and near supernatural shenanigans. (However, I love Vonnegut too much to let the comparison go much deeper - Giraldi has some big shoes to fill, even if he wanted to.) 

 

The monsters of the title. are literal - giant squids, aliens, Bigfoot, ghosts - but also figurative - lying, cheating, abandonment, vanity, sexual proclivity, violence.

 

I was expecting a strange, twisty, dark ending to match the strange, twisty, dark plotline, but was actually pleasantly surprised when Charlie and Gillian live happily ever after. Sometimes the cliched endings are refreshing to my cynical reader's brain.