Monday, January 12, 2009

Book Immersion: Bad Monkeys

I’ve never done this before, but everything about this book makes me want to, so let us for a moment immerse ourselves in Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff.
First, the cover. It grabs me from the beginning. It has a vibrant yellow paperback cover, and is slightly taller and narrower than most books. Plus, I don’t know what it’s made of, but it feels really neat. And right on the front there’s a Rorschach ink blot resembling a monkey (well, that’s what I see. I wonder what that says about me?). Above the image is a review by Christopher Moore, an author that I just love, so I’m already hooked. There is red text to offset the dominant black, and a couple more tiny Rorschach’s thrown in on the spine and back for good measure. The very first page after the cover is black, then we move on to the story itself (Well, ok, you get the standard title page, and the dedication is set on top of the publisher information—“For Phil,” but then we get to the story, which was published in 2007 by Harper Collins). The type font is Times New Roman, just like this post. We get some quotes from the Bible and an H.L. Mencken and then a chapter labeled “white room (i).” As it turns out, there will be more white room chapters, intermingled with the others. Ruff decides to literally set the stage for the readers by telling us about this white room. He does so in a way that seems like it could be from a movie script. This intrigues me. In this white room we see a woman and a psychologist. The woman has been sent to this psychologist because she confessed that she is a member of a secret organization that kills bad people, or Bad Monkeys (Ooooh, it’s all coming together!). The rest of the story is devoted to Jane Charlotte explaining who she is and what she does. There are some sci-fi elements thrown in because, well, it’s kind of hard to explain a super secret organization that finds bad people and kills them. For example, instead of just killing the Bad Monkeys any old way, the organization has a gun that sends out some sort of (mumble mumble sci-fi) pulse to give the victims a heart attack or aneurism. This book is quite a page turner. Jane Charlotte is a character that’s hard to figure out, but she is intriguing anyways, and keeps you guessing. The plot has many twists and turns, especially towards the end where you could get whiplash if you’re not careful. The 227 page book ends, then there’s an acknowledgment and an about the author page. I guess we can’t get totally immersed without talking about the plot, but I don’t want to ruin anything. I want you to read it, and then you can have a Bad Monkeys experience of your own. Yay.

Check it out.

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