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Friday, February 8, 2013

Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles: A Novel

Ron Currie, Jr.'s first book, Everything Matters, was passed on to me not so long ago. When I found out Currie's next book, Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles was on it's way out, I scored a review copy faster than you could blink an eye. Here's what shook out.

Ron Currie is a writer who had a monster success with his second novel--only the success came after he was dead. Funny thing--even greater notoriety came post-death-life. "How is that?" you ask. It's because, in the depths of despair over his one true love, Emma, Ron attempts suicide. He fails, but no one knows that--everyone thinks he is dead. After the suddenly-discovered runaway success of his book that he resurfaces, only to find himself in a pickle. His book has spurned a rash of suicides for love just as his manifesto ignited his. What is the role truth in writing? When we find out a memoir is really just a novel, does that change what we loved about the book, or does the truth really make it what it is?

I enjoyed this book the whole way through, but I have to say that it was the final 25 pages that I found myself highlighting almost non-stop. The entirety of the book is a lead up to the understanding of why it is we believe what we do and what the role verity has in our enjoyment of and dependence upon literature. Ron's book is a runaway success strictly because of the story that goes along with it ("oh, poor man! killed himself because of a girl! his love, how beautiful!"). Ron actually does love Emma in real life and does feel everything he writes in his novel, but it's only because of his "suicide" that the novel is published and thereby a success.

I was reminded of the James Frey debacle many years back. I maintained that my enjoyment of the book and my belief that the it was well-done was not contingent upon it being a memoir, therefore when it was discovered that some "facts" were elaborated or fabricated I didn't feel that it took away from the excellent story that was told--it only made it more fiction than memoir. This made it easy for me to relate to the character of Ron and his establishment of novel over memoir.

So yes, I absolutely do recommend this book. When you start to waver midway through and think to yourself, "So where is this all going?", just hang tight and know that it all wraps up in the end to a spellbinding and intense conclusion to which you will have a visceral reaction. Currie's writing does not disappoint. Thank goodness.

You can get this yourself! Kindle version on the left, hard copy on the right.

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