Wednesday, July 12, 2017

BOOK REVIEW-Geek Love


GEEK LOVE by Katherine Dunn
Publisher: Vintage
368 Pages
2002


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.

My Thoughts: 
Wow! Where do I start?
This book came highly recommended from a co-worker. And you know there's no better source of a good read than from a friend. About 50 pages in I was thinking"What the actual hell??!!"
BUT Geek Love is like the car crash you see on the freeway--you want to look away but you can't! So I continued to turn page after page and read about this horrific and fascinating book. The Binewskis are the most dysfunctional family you will ever have the pleasure and curse of knowing. Art and Lily, owner of the Binewski's Fabulon, a traveling carnival, decide to breed their own freak show by creating genetically altered children through the use of experimental drugs.
The story is told from Olympia point of view. She is one of Art and Lily's children that happens to be a hunch back albino dwarf who "worked" at the carnival growing up.
 Her tale of growing up in the Binewskis family and carnival life is bizarre, dark, and sometimes humorous.
After finishing Geek Love I had to do some research on the author--Where in the world did this story come from? Katherine Dunn says the idea came to her after her young son refused to join her on a walk through a famous rose garden in Portland. Inspired by the diverse blooms she wondered, what if she could have bred a more obedient boy? She dismissed the thought and decided that flaws were more fascinating than perfection and it would be more interesting to go in an entirely different direction. She starting thinking about freaks and mutations who were not considered desirable and Geek Love was born. In 1989 Geek Love became a National Book Finalist and went on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies.
I can promise you that if you decide to give Geek Love a chance you will be left with an memorable, incredibly imaginative story that will have you thinking about the Binewski family and it's characters for years to come.

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