Thursday, January 2, 2020

Review - Limbs

by Tim Meyer
Date: 2019
Publisher: Grindhouse Press
Reading level: A
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 163
Format: e-book

I am not a monster.

Ray Bridges, a professional electronics salesman, is looking for love in all the strange places. He spends most nights sneaking into support group meetings for the disabled in order to satisfy his deepest, darkest desires—to hook up with unfortunate, down-on-their-luck women who’ve recently lost a limb. There's a name for Ray’s preference; it’s called acrotomophilia, a paraphilia involving amputees.

Conflicted, Ray wishes he could change. But he can’t. His body won’t let him. Nor will his mind. He’s destined to live this life, forever. That is... until he meets the perfect girl. Falls in love with her. Only problem: her arms and legs are attached.

Unable to find her attractive, Ray embarks on a dark, twisted journey of self-discovery, one that will force him to make an impossible choice: abandon his pursuit of true love or find a way to make it work, even if that means getting the girl of his dreams to shed an appendage.

Weird, comedic, and often raunchy, Limbs is the craziest love story ever told.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

In 2019, I read over 1100 separate works. The vast majority of those were picture books. For 2020, I wanted to diversify a little. Read some things that are completely different. I have to say that Limbs falls perfectly into that category. It's a little comedic and a lot disturbing.

I think I understand why the author chose to aim this at adults (after all, a character with acrotomophilia isn't something you're going to find in a middle-grade contemporary) but I question his choice to make his main character thirty-two. This could've easily been a "new adult" title featuring younger adults, since Ray was really only a mature adult in a technical sense. He works as a sales associate in an electronics store, his friends and co-workers all seem to either be students or still live with their parents (or both), and his exchanges with his best friend, Percy, sound like a couple of stoned eighteen-year-olds trying to sound cool. Dude!

All that aside, however, I kind of like Ray as a character. He's complex and terribly flawed, and the first-person point of view lets us witness all the churning chaos of his mind. Is he a monster? At times, it sure seemed like he might be. And yet, I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next.

The rest of the characters are a mixed bag, though. Kayla, the love interest, has emotional reactions that seem a bit unrealistic (to the point that I wonder if they're just there to provide complications for the plot). Many of the secondary characters seem a little like caricatures; they're types more than fleshed-out people. I think my favourites were probably the little hellions at the laser tag place; they weren't exactly realistic (oh, god, I hope they weren't based on real kids), but they were so awful as to be hilarious.

The story grabbed me and kept me hooked up until the end, where it sort of devolved into a cheesy supervillain story. At that point, especially, it read "young", and had the subject matter not been so utterly graphic, a reader might be tempted to think they were reading some dark YA. The villain turned out to be so over-the-top that, in spite of how awful he was, I kind of wanted to laugh and roll my eyes at the same time. (I'm not sure if that's what the author was going for or not.)

The fact that this is a short book (under 200 pages) and the tight plotting mean that it's a quick read. It also means that it was a short manuscript, so there's really no excuse for the shoddy editing. The writing's not terrible, but it's not great, either. The typos don't help. The continuity problems really don't help. It's a shame when these little errors (and there were so many of them!) prevent a decent book from becoming a really good one.

I'm not sure who I'd recommend this one to. It's full of sex, violence, gore, and features a strange sexual desire. It's not as funny as I was expecting (unless you count the unintentionally funny parts), so it's kind of dark overall. If you like that sort of gory horror/romance story, complete with graphic sex scenes, you might get a little more out of this one than I did. It wasn't bad, but I can't say that I really loved it.

Premise: 3/5
Plot: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Pace: 4/5
Writing: 3/5
Editing: 2/5
Originality: 4/5
Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3.13 out of 5 ladybugs

No comments:

Post a Comment