19 journalers for this copy...
"'Geek Love' is the story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater- and paterfamilias set out-with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes-to breed their own exhibit of human oddities. There's Arturo the Aquaboy, who has flippers for limbs and a megalomaniac ambition worthy of Genghis Khan . . . Iphy and Elly, the lissome Siamese twins . . . albino hunchback Oly, and the outwardly normal Chick, whose mysterious gifts make him the family's most precious-and dangerous-asset.
"As the Binewskis take their act across the backwaters of the U.S., inspiring fanatical devotion and murderous revulsion; as its members conduct their own Machiavellian version of sibling rivalry, 'Geek Love' throws its sulfurous light on our notions of the freakish and the normal, the beautiful and the ugly, the holy and the obscene. Family values will never be the same."
I just finished this yesterday, and it was a little hard to get into at first. I thought the premise was interesting, but I was initially disoriented and had no idea where the author was going with this. But once that became more clear, it moved so quickly that I didn't want to put it down. I think this is one of those books that some people will love and others will absolutely hate. My own reaction was more neutral. If it hadn't been so well written and imaginative, I might not have liked it as much. It's much darker than what I usually read, and there are places where you have to put reality aside and just follow the story. The only major thing that didn't fully convince me was Oly teetering back and forth between loyalty and hatred of her brother. There were times when I just wanted to slap her and say, "Wake up!"
The participants in order:
CAUGHT IN BROOKLYN NY USA
thanks again for sharing the book! I will pass it on to the next person as soon as I get her address.
Thanks so much for starting this bookray, humberts-doll.
It's very hard to describe. For me, it's an adventure. It's like something a psychotic John Irving would write. Katherine Dunn to literature is like John Waters is to film. Does that give you an idea yet?
I thought the story was very well written and provocative in that it caused me to think about how we distinguish between what is "normal" and what is "freaky". It made me reflect on how we view people who are different than ourselves and how we try to fit into the norm if we are freaky or fit into the freaky if we are normal. To get this idea across, the author turned the whole concept of "geek" on its head by making "freaky" the norm. And that was just the beginning...
Great quote from this book:
“There are those whose vulgar normality is so apparent and stultifying that they strive to escape it. They affect flamboyant behavior and claim originality according to the fashionable eccentricities of their time. They claim brains or talent or indifference to mores in desperate attempts to deny their own mediocrity. These are frequently artists and performers, adventurers and wide-life devotees.”
“Then there are those who feel their own strangeness and are terrified by it. They struggle toward normalcy. They suffer to exactly that degree that they are unable to appear normal to others, or to convince themselves that their aberration does not exist. These are true freaks, who appear, almost always, conventional and dull.” (Arty in Geek Love by Katherine Dunn)
Thanks, humbert's-doll, for sharing this book and providing me with such an extraordinary reading experience!
For fun--Listen to this interview with the author:
This book was mailed to Sunshinedreem in Frederick, Maryland. Enjoy!
I hope everyone else enjoys this more than I did!
EDIT 3/28/05 - I've finished reading the book and will be sending it on to the next person. For now, I'll say that I thought it was fascinating and will be back later to give a more thorough review.
I've thought many times about how to approach this review. I don't want to impact the adventure for future readers, but I do encourage everyone to keep reading, even when the book takes you out of your comfort zone, because taking you beyond what you are used to is part of why this was such a challenging and interesting read.
For me, Geek Love was both difficult and delightful. The characters both fascinated and repulsed me. I suppose that I should have hated them, but I didn't. Sometimes, I started to understand them. This inner dichotomy is, in my opinion, part of the strength of this book. The author took me places I had never been before and showed me a world where everything was twisted but still solid, so that the characters became real as I read about them. While I think it would be a stretch to say that I really liked this book, I did enjoy the challenge it presented to my usual way of thinking. I am glad that I read this book.
EDIT 25 April 2005:
I agree with Morianna, it's definately worth getting through once you start. It's a book that needs to be thought about, definately not just a "quick read and then move on" kind of book.
EDIT 27 April 2005:
Sent the book off to the next person on the list today!
This was an odd book. Started off strange, ended strangely, and the middle was somewhere in between. Definately not a light subject, and not a light novel. It took a while to get into it, and later in the book it was a little too deep (the whole Arturan "cult"). The concept was intresting and ironic, but it seemed to go overboard with it.
I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it.
Thanks again for sharing this novel!
PMing twinkpuddin for an addy & I will mail out ASAP.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Sorry I took so long getting this out to the next person. Mailed to twinkpuddin this morning.
Thanks again for sharing this book, humberts-doll! :)
Have PM'd spaceystacey and am waiting for address to send on.
Well this one took me a great deal of time to get into at first. I have started it many, many times just to put it down again after the first chapter or so. I picked it up again this weekend and this time...WOW...it really is quite a page-turner. I really wanted to read more about all the quirky/Freaky characters.
Offering in the forums as a bookring May 2008
ORDER OF THE RING:
1. mellonhead journalled.
2. Librarylion journalled
3. deadsteen journalled
4. sunfi journalled
5. jubby Australia journalled.
6. ArabellaFigg UK international -05/27/2009 received, journaled as read now
7. Snofferol South Africa 08/25/2009 received, journaled as read now
8. LeishaCamden Oslo, Norway international March 10, 2010 had the book now.
9. SillySilhouette USA mailings only
ETA: 7/12/08-I read this while at a conference in Boston. It was a tough read. I didn't enjoy it, although it is a good story because it keeps sticking in my head. I was fascinated by the family dynamics. I'm sending it out to Librarylion on Monday.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Finished on 10/8
I'm not sure if I can say that I enjoyed this book as much as survived it, and have come out better for it. I thought that Katherine Dunn was going to give us a peek at the "freakish" life of this non "norm" family, but instead pulls us right into the depths with them, and those depths sink very low. However, as foreign as their lives seemed at times, there were sudden glimpses of the familiar...which was scary!
I'm sending this on to deadsteen... Enjoy!
I am slightly embarrassed that I still have this book. I am reading it, but apparently VERY slowly (which is not the way I usually operate. Too many distractions, I guess. I will either finish it in the next 2 weeks or send it on (I am going out of town for a few days in early Feb, and if I have not finished it when I get back, I will send it out anyway).
I'm glad I read it, but I'm really not sure if I enjoyed it. I think I agree with librarylion, who "survived it." Everytime I was sure the story had reached its bizarre zenith, there would be yet another twist or turn. I found myself rereading at points becuase I couldn't believe that was where the story was going.
Well, I am glad I finally finished and I will PM the next person on the list.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
I just couldn't get into this one, I gave it 50 pages or so. This is on its way to jubby now. Happy Reading!
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Well, I got a bit further then the last reader... but I still didn't finish it.
I read the first 100 pages, and rather enjoyed it, but then put the book down to read a reading group book (Someone knows my name by Lawrence Hill), so when I finally made it back I had lost my enthusiasm. And, I had held onto the book for far too long, so posted it on to the next reader.
May they enjoy the book in their own good time.
Thank you for sharing this book with me.
I will pm snofferol and post the book on as soon as possible.
I will PM the next reader for their address and get the book back on the road again asap.