- Author: Stephen C. Bird | Goodreads |
- Reading Level: Adult
- Paperback: 152 pages
- Publisher: Hysterical Dementia (February 16, 2012)
“Usns been speakin duh Dumbspeak uh reel long time now, evuh since dey wuz Gooderz an Badderz. Jes so youse know, deah two kinds uh Dumbspeak. Deah dat dats duh Gooderz speak, an deah dat dats duh Badderz speak.” – Stephen C. Bird, Catastrophically Consequential
“This prequel-sequel to “Hideous Exuberance” incorporates non-linear plots; comical rants and disturbing inner monologues; stream of consciousness dream sequences; psychedelic, surrealistic scenarios and time-traveling characters. Revel in the chaotic confusion of sociopathic celebrities, suburban swingers, suicidal trust fund girls, decadent jet setters, D-list standup comics, medieval princesses, sinister passive-aggressive jokers, “Evilangelists”, and a host of other lost souls and disreputable, vindictive losers, as they search in vain for metaphysical clarity.”
#3words2describe – disturbing, frustrating, thought-provoking
I often laugh when I read reviews where the book made the reader want to curse. Up until this month, I had not had the urge. Enter Catastrophically Consequential. Although it is relatively short, the funky dialects, questionable characters, and the bizarre timeline (or time zigzag or time circle – as nothing about the book is linear) made me put down the book – twice. It tried my patience on multiple levels. It’s like having dinner with Jar-Jar Binks, Kurt Vonnegut, and <insert your favorite shock jock>. Everyone is drunk and talking at the same time, except for you. You are the silent confused water-drinking designated driver. <sigh>
Things didn’t come together for me until my third attempt – after realizing three things.
1. Don’t try to force it to make logical sense. | I hit the scan button on my radio trying to find some instrumental music to get in the right frame of mind to try the book for a third time. I was tapping on the book’s cover when I heard Kanye West say, “That sh!t crazy” as a radio station whizzed by my ears. You’re exactly right, Kanye – that book is crazy. And disturbing. And frustrating. And kinda funny (in a very dark sort of way).
2. It’s not completely random. | There is a lot of snarky social commentary mixed in with the crazy. Oddly enough, some of it is thought-provoking. Catastrophically Consequential comes off like one of those abstract paintings where it looks like the artist just slapped some paint on a canvas after a night of smoking some bad marijuana. You look at it and say, “C’mon. That’s quality art? Please. I could paint that myself.” But then days later, it is still on your mind. The painting of the fruit in the bowl is not.
3. This book is probably better performed – not just read. | I didn’t start to “get it” until I read it aloud (after trying to sound out the funky dialogue). It might go over well as a smokey stage performance in a basement cafe.
Quite honestly, I would have given up on Catastrophically Consequential if I wasn’t trying to read 150 books this year. I have vowed to leave no book behind. Reading it was more effort than I want to put into a book of short stories. Some of the stories I got. Others were under or over my head. In spite of my frustration, I am going to say that the book is an okay read. It’s not my preferferred type of book, but it did give me pause for thought.
* The book contains quite a bit of foul language and sexual references.
- Heck if I know??
NOTE: I received a free copy of Catastrophically Consequential through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.