Huzzah! Freaks and geeks!
This book has passed through my hands at least three times, but I never seemed to get around to it until now. And I don’t know how many of you get asked what the book you’re reading is about, but it’s nice to be able to say something definite like ‘circus freaks’ instead of the more insipid ‘oh, you know. A woman finding herself and discovering love and losing her job and whatnot.’
So, circus freaks. This guy inherits his dad’s travelling circus, but it’s going tets up and so he and his wife start doing craaaaaaaazy drugs while procreating. Crazy drugs + foetuses = 1 set of Siamese twins, 1 limbless wonder, 1 hunchback albino dwarf, and 1 ambiguously-powered infant.
Geek Love is narrated by Olympia, who is the lesser-freak because she is *only* a hunchbacked albino dwarf. It’s all relative, am I right? The story alternates between her life now as a velvet-voiced radio personality who keeps a stalkery anonymous eye on her (mostly) normal daughter, and her life then playing nursemaid and gofor to her body-tube of a brother.
The family is dysfunctional, but it is surprisingly normally dysfunctional. I mean, they have all the same clashing dynamics as other families, but all over shellacked with ‘circus’ and ‘freaks.’ Par example, the No-Limbed vies with his father for Alpha-male control of the family, as teen boys will do, but he does it by STARTING HIS OWN CULT!!! WHEREIN PEOPLE HAVE THEIR LIMBS REMOVED! Fun!
And then everything goes to shit, and goes to shit with gusto. Sideshow folk do not do things by halves. And there is a luuuuuuuuv story wedged in there (see: title) but it. Is. Bizarre. You will start to see it coming, and you will hope that you are reading into things other things that aren’t there. But you aren’t.
And, ok. Cautionary whale: Dunn is blunt. Geek Love is not so much ‘gory’ or ‘lewd’ as it is the print version of those youtube videos of people picking their own zits. And, like, occasionally. But I do not recommend reading this over lunch.
Do read it, though. It is unusual and good.