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Mr. Peanut

3.25  ·  Rating Details ·  4,631 Ratings  ·  986 Reviews
David Pepin has been in love with his wife, Alice, since the moment they met in a university seminar on Alfred Hitchcock. After thirteen years of marriage, he still can’t imagine a remotely happy life without her—yet he obsessively contemplates her demise. Soon she is dead, and David is both deeply distraught and the prime suspect.

The detectives investigating Alice’s suspi
ebook, 352 pages
Published June 22nd 2010 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jul 29, 2010 karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
oh, mr. peanut - you were so close to earning a five-star rating from me!! and this is probably my failing rather than any fault of the book, in a way, because i had unrealistic expectations based on just sheer enthusiastic nothing. the book starts out so strong, that when it started going mildly wrong for me, i felt betrayed, and maybe took its departure from where i wanted it to be a little personally*. (i call this house of leaves syndrome) i had been shelving this book for at least a month, ...more
Jan 04, 2017 Kemper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Why do divorces cost so much?

Because they’re worth it.*

*(That joke brought to you by my ex-wife. Not to be confused with the far superior current Mrs. Kemper. Hi, honey!)

Anyone who has had a long-term relationship that involved living with your significant other has had this moment. Not when you get on each other’s nerves over the trivial crap like hogging all the blankets or not picking up your socks. I’m talking about that moment when you look at someone you claim to know and love better than
Jul 27, 2010 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
Adam Ross has got some fierce writing skills. The man can write, no two ways about it. There's a point fairly early on in Mr Peanut where he hits his stride, and for about the next 100 pages, he delivers some of the best material I've read in quite some time. I was fully prepared to polish up that fifth star. And then, for no apparent reason, quite bafflingly, Mr Peanut started to slide, eventually skidding out of control completely, leaving me very disappointed. With a sense of frustration that ...more
Apr 23, 2011 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are moments in Hitchcock's Vertigo where the film seems ready to implode under the weight of so many layers of elaborate and unnatural artifice:

--the con game around doubles and desire in the film (X doesn't mean X, it means Y),

--the florid psychological thickets of symbol and image (X doesn't mean X, it suggests XY),

--the self-reflexive and overdetermined framing of every shot

--not to mention the echo chamber of Hitchockian context

Such game-playing, such showboating technical virtuosit
Neil Schleifer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Oct 27, 2011 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Paquita Maria by:
Shelves: literature
Painful. Grim as the Reaper. The mind (and so this book) goes to some dark places with love and attachment, often leaving lovers to expect the worst from one another simply because they can see the horror in their own hearts. Ross explores the darkness-cloaked, menacing landscapes of the mind occupied by an intimate other, the comparisons made between worldviews, needs, habits, desires in life and in the boudoir, and the way that long-term affection so often leaves you reaching your hands toward ...more
James Thane
Mar 27, 2013 James Thane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
In Mr. Peanut, Adam Ross journeys into the dark underbelly of love and marriage by charting the course of three different relationships that impinge on each other. Principal among them is the marriage of David and Alice Pepin. The two met in a films class and have been married for thirteen years. David is still completely in love with Alice, but at the same time he fantasizes about her death, often in very ghoulish ways. Alice is severely overweight and allergic to a variety of things. Then one ...more
Mr. Peanut is an odd book. I not so sure whether it's in a good way, or a bad way.

On the surface it's a straight up crime/mystery novel. Nothing to see here folks move along. It is a story of marriage, several of them and murders that happen along the way. But then the book gets all trippy, and you don't know for sure what is a "real" murder, and what's not.....maybe they all happened. I'll never tell. I'm not sure I even know at this point.

Part of this book is set in my stomping ground......

Krok Zero
Jul 28, 2010 Krok Zero rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-2010
Mr. Peanut is the novel of the moment, or one of the novels of one of the moments, anyway, and while I'm not completely in the tank, I am absolutely glad that the book has received so much positive attention. It deserves it.

As America's happiest blurbwhore Stephen King helpfully clues us in on, this is a book about the dark side of marriage. Not the suburban-anomie American Beauty/Revolutionary Road kind of dark side, but the kind of dark side that involves straight-up murdering your spouse—or a
Mar 25, 2012 Gary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Like Fight Club, but take out Tyler Durden and replace him with a complete pansy. Now you have two pansys just whimpering at each other.

Seriously, though, the book was good at times and bad at times. It's about the darker side of marriage. The focus is on this couple and it's mildly interesting. Then the wife dies by ingesting a mouthful of peanuts (to which she's deathly allergic). The police think murder, the husband thinks suicide.

Then the book just railroads into these crazy tangents about
Apr 12, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably more of a 2-1/2 star review. I had to push myself to get through this one. By the end, I was mostly glad I saw it through. The last 50 or so pages redeemed some of the problems I had with the book. And ultimately, this is a significantly better book than I could ever hope to write, in terms of the writing, the plotting, the twists, the tying everything together.

Ultimately, though, I just found the themes of (1) women being murdered brutally by their husbands and (2) women being so emoti
Ben Loory
Aug 23, 2012 Ben Loory rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
really probably more like a 4.5, but i'm rounding up because this guy's voice is just incredible. it's the kind of voice that makes you suddenly realize how similar most other writers' voices actually are. it's just effortlessly flowing, hypnotically propulsive, funny, sad, vivid, smart-- it's really just a marvel. every sentence is beautiful but devoid of that preciousness that so many writers seem to have which demands not just that you simply experience the beauty but also STOP AND STEP BACK ...more
Jul 19, 2010 Jasmine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody.
Shelves: american
This book is fantastic, like super fantastic I mean you should immediately go to a store and buy it and then you should go sit down in the middle of the road and read it the second you leave the store. But don't read it in the store that is bad form. Unless you work in the store and are reading in the basement on your break, but then you will probably spend most of the time annoyed that the other 20 people in the room won't shut up so you would probably be happier outside, but I digress. The poi ...more
Rebecca Brothers
Jan 09, 2012 Rebecca Brothers rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Adam Ross' book, Mr. Peanut, should have been titled Mr. Penis. I read this book because it was hyped up all around town here in Nashvegas--Ross is a local author and newly formed celebrity. Mr. Peanut was released to incredible acclaim--the New York Times said Ross is a "sorcerer with words."From Publisher's Weekly we hear: "Ross's depiction of love is grotesque and tender at once, and his style is commanding as he combines torture and romance to create a sense of vertigo-as-romance. It's a uni ...more
Two things I'm finding increasingly irritating in novels lately -- an excessively bleak view of human nature and postmodern gimmicks -- and here they are, together in one novel! Lucky me.

In Mr. Peanut we are treated to three dismal individuals in dismal marriages. The husbands philander because they can't communicate with their wives or because they're simply egotistical or both; the wives are distant and passive-aggressive, resorting to tactics like refusing to leave their beds (what the heck?)
Feb 05, 2011 Rosy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
A quote from the real Dr. Sam Sheppard opens the book in the epigraph, "I became or thought that I was disoriented and the victim of a bizarre dream." An appropriate beginning, prophetic for the journey the reader is about to undergo with this novel - a story within a story about marriage, murder, the search for a connection, the disconnect between who you think you are and how others perceive you. Certainly it is how I felt when I finished this dizzying book, and I loved every second of it.

Ben Bush
At the center of the book is a pretty great 120-page historical novella about Dr. Sam Sheppard, the heart surgeon who did or didn't murder his wife and it plays around in some interesting ways with the impossibility of knowing what actually happened. In my imagination, Adam Ross wrote this and then was pretty hard pressed to figure out how to shape it into something of novel length and has put on either side of it has put a conceptually interesting but kind of poorly written experimental novel. ...more
Aug 15, 2011 Sunday rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Adam Ross really gave it his best try to "wowie" us with the inner workings of married husbands. I give this the cringing two-star because I don't think Adam Ross gives two farts about developing his female characters, i.e., wives. They are moody, unexplained, single-minded, uninteresting, and even worse: stupid. Indeed, if half the planet had a bag of Play Doh for brains, I think we could all safely begin the slaughter and call it chicken nuggets.

I want to share a passage, just a subtle one, fr
Oct 02, 2010 Kathrina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 23, 2010 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bill by: karen
i read this book because karen said it was great, and as always, she was right.Especially for a first novel, this is some seriously good writing.i read this in 2 sittings, and it would have been one if i hadn't started reading it very late at night and was just too tired to go on.anyway, it is that gripping that you hate to put it down.

it's fairly complicated so you have to pay very close attention as there is a lot of stuff going on all the time, with the three main sets of characters,all of wh
May 15, 2012 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'm still turning this book over in my head, so it's hard for me to write a review, even in my concise style. Let me just say that I flew through this book and have been thinking about it ever since I read the last page. If that's not a 5 star novel, I don't know what is.
Irene Ziegler
Adam Ross's Mr. Peanut is a train wreck of a book, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. You stop, you stare, you gape. Eventually you see there is order to the chaos, and as you trust the conductor to guide you through the next part of the journey, continue reading with one eye closed.

Only Mr. Peanut isn't about train wrecks. It's about marriage. Oh, wait. Same thing. (Ba-dum dump.) It's a cautionary tale about complacency and the need for partners to see each other anew.

But oh, it is so
Nathan Rostron
Oct 05, 2010 Nathan Rostron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is incredible, and it will seriously ***k you up. Don't read this novel in a terrible mood--I read it a month ago, on a sunny, oceanside weekend away, and still I'm haunted by it. I will say two things about the book. 1) The narrator, David Pepin, is a game designer who made his fortune on a game called Escher Exit, in which the various levels are taken from those perpetual-motion tessellations that M.C. Escher is famous for; bad guys are chasing you, and you have to try to escape. 2) ...more
Peter Rosch
Aug 30, 2012 Peter Rosch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adam Ross. I share your pain. You have written a wonderfully dark book, a piece of fiction born from the very real complexities of matrimony–the type of book that makes one uncomfortable as their minds begin to wander from the story at hand to their own stories at home. I suspect that combination is what has led so many folks to rate it poorly. Your book cover has a skull on it, and maybe a whole slew of readers just assumed it would be about skeletons, literally. Who knows?

What I do know, is i
J. Cupertino
Apr 01, 2010 J. Cupertino rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Peanut is a remarkable novel. On a friend’s recommendation, I took a look at an advance copy and, once I picked it up, was unable to put it down. A meditation on marriage and love in the guise of a murder mystery (or, more accurately, a folded series of meditations on love and marriage each in the guise of its own murder mystery or possible-murder mystery), the book pulls off an incredible high wire act. On the one hand, Ross crafts a page-ripping mystery that any Hitchcock fan will adore. O ...more
Connie  Kuntz
Jul 30, 2010 Connie Kuntz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Connie by: New York Times Article
There was a time when I thought men had something useful to say. (By men, in this instance, I mean ex-boyfriends.) They compared me to other women, told me I was difficult, insisted that "we" could never have what "I" wanted. These geniuses were always quick to point out my volatile personality. "You should really get that checked out, Connie. Especially if you want KIDS."

Then I met Jesse Kuntz who very quickly informed me that those guys (he refused to call them men) were douche-bags with a Pe
Dec 01, 2010 Melissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yikes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 17, 2014 Shawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those novels, I think, that you either get or you don't. And, not just "get" as in "Oh, I see what he did", but "get" as in "Aah, I see where this multilayered, multifaceted study of marriage and human nature is taking us".
Brilliant, near textbook execution of what I'm sure is a writing technique few can master. Not being a brilliant writer, I don't even know what the technique is called, if in fact there is a name for it, but read this and you know that the author pulled off som
Jun 27, 2011 Gloria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not even sure where to start with this!
Suffice it to say, it made me read whenever and wherever possible (despite a busy weekend).

I always hesitate to put too much in a review (because the synopsis can be read by everyone anyway). But let me just say, this novel totally screwed with my brain. It was the first time in I don't know how long where I couldn't truly figure out what was going on-- nor what the ending was going to bring.

After closing the book, I literally had to sit there for a goo
Jul 23, 2010 Maicie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was as much in the dark at the end of the book as I was at the beginning. When finished I couldn’t decide if it was a dismal failure or a brilliant success. The author presents a bleak view of marriage. No, that’s not right. Adam Ross is writing about last chances. Or perhaps lost identities. Truthfully, if someone asked me what the book was about I’d shrug my shoulders.

I was set to give this a single star. Even though I couldn’t put the book down I never did understand the author’s intent. Ho
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Mr. Peanut--a point of view 2 80 Apr 11, 2011 01:50PM  
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Adam Ross lives in Nashville with his wife and two daughters. His debut novel, Mr. Peanut, a 2010 New York Times Notable Book, was also named one of the best books of the year by The New Yorker, The
Philadelphia Inquirer
, The New Republic, and The Economist. Ladies and Gentlemen, his short story collection, was included in Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2011. His nonfiction has been published in The
More about Adam Ross...

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“You know, as I've grown older, my ideas about sin have changed. I used to believe that sins were things you did, but I don't think that now. I think sins are what you ignore.” 19 likes
“A man who loves his mother too much is someone who can never love his wife enough.” 6 likes
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