I received a free copy of this book from the author after losing the goodreads giveaway. Actually I received three copies of this book, probably due t...moreI received a free copy of this book from the author after losing the goodreads giveaway. Actually I received three copies of this book, probably due to some mistake at the publishing company. I only read one of them.
I liked this story. I liked Wilkins, who is a crackhead running from the responsibilities of being able to see ghosts. Apparently ghosts need a lot of coddling so they don't go all dark side and start enslaving and eating other ghosts, or messing with the unsuspecting living. The story is told quite simply, without a lot of fuss, but Marks seems adept at bringing his characters to life with minimal descriptions and back stories. They all seem to share a straightforwardness, however, which worked for most of them, but I felt left the villain a little underdeveloped. He's obviously a monster, but he didn't evoke the kind of emotion he should have.
I found Marks' over-use of italicized words a little distracting. In addition, the less than extensive vocabulary worked for characters like Wilkins who are presumably rather uneducated, but when the perspective shifted to other characters, it felt a less like a style choice and more like a deficit on the part of the author.
There were a lot of characters in this book, and I feel like some of their potential went unfulfilled. That is, even though they were written well enough and fulfilled their purpose in Wilkins' story, I kind of wished there had been more to them, that they'd had more of their own stories. We only just skirted the world of the "yardwalkers", and there's clearly a whole lot of history there.
In summary: decent story, likable characters, well-paced, easy to read.
It is beginning to look like Ron Currie Jr. may never exhaust his two favorite topics - the death of his father, and his undying love for his childhoo...moreIt is beginning to look like Ron Currie Jr. may never exhaust his two favorite topics - the death of his father, and his undying love for his childhood sweetheart. Because Flimsy Little Miracles begins by semi-fictionally referencing the author's previous book, I read Everything Matters! first. Though the two books are very different - Everything Matters is quasi-science fiction, and FLPM is quasi-memoir - both books centre around these two obsessions, sometimes to the point of redundancy.
If you like books about self-sabotaging anti-heroes, you will enjoy Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles. For my part, I discovered I am quite over that kind of protagonist. Witnessing a man destroy himself through alcohol, fistfights and obsession has lost its appeal for me. The protagonist seeks punishment for himself, which in turn hurts everyone in his blast radius and creates a vicious cycle.
Currie is a thought-provoking writer. This book bounces from narrative about his relationship with Emma (the object of his undying love), flashbacks to the long, slow death of his father (who was, in the protagonist's view, a "real" man that he could never live up to), and discussions on the idea of the Singularity (Google it). Currie's protagonist fixates on the Singularity as both a way to resurrect his father and to spend eternity with Emma. But he also recognizes that disembodied existence may render his love meaningless.
This is a complicated book to sum up. The ending (as well as the protagonist's relationship with Emma) brings up the idea of whether "literal veracity means more to us than deeper truths". Does it really matter if memoirs are factual? If you recall the scandal over James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, you may be familiar with this debate. Currie's protagonist finds himself in a similar situation, and halfheartedly tries to explain that veracity has no impact on meaning, and thus the value of a story remains the same whether it's fact or fiction. (An argument I completely agree with, by the way.)
Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles is a well-written (if somewhat scattered), thought-provoking book with plenty of feeling. Currie's protagonist is self-destructive in the extreme, and often thoroughly frustrating. Sometimes I felt all those slaps he took were well-deserved, because if he'd just manned-up, looked around, and took control of himself, things would have been better for a lot of people. He never quite learns his lesson, and remains self-indulgent, self-absorbed and self-defeating to the end.
My rating of this book falls somewhere between 3 & 4 stars - I really can't make up my mind.
I recieved a free Advanced Uncorrected Proof of Flimsy Little Miracles from Penguin Canada via goodreads First Reads Giveaway. This has in no way influenced my review. Because it was a goodreads promotion, I have left my review on the site. It can also be viewed here:http://bit.ly/Z2jcJp
Well-played, Mr. Ferguson, you have successfully 419'd me into reading a book about Nigeria, a topic I had - and still have - little interest in. Read...moreWell-played, Mr. Ferguson, you have successfully 419'd me into reading a book about Nigeria, a topic I had - and still have - little interest in. Read my full review: http://bit.ly/125nPpM(less)
Finally done with this. Maguire has a nice way of putting words together, but unfortunately that didn't help in any way to create compelling character...moreFinally done with this. Maguire has a nice way of putting words together, but unfortunately that didn't help in any way to create compelling characters or even a real story in this book. I kept finding myself bored and questioning what the point of it was. This series has declined so sharply I can only imagine the fourth book is well and truly unreadable. A Lion Among Men was very close to that itself. I gave it two stars instead of one because there were some nice passages - a few noteworthy sentences here and there and even a couple instances where my interest was sustained for more than a page. But as a whole, it was tedious and pointless.
This book has absolutely no plot, and it doesn't need one. It's hard to pin down what's so great about it, except that it's full of interesting ideas,...moreThis book has absolutely no plot, and it doesn't need one. It's hard to pin down what's so great about it, except that it's full of interesting ideas, and ideas are some of my favorite things. (less)
I won this book in the Goodreads First Reads giveaway.
Alright, I just can't take anymore. I've never read a book so in need of an editor in my life. T...moreI won this book in the Goodreads First Reads giveaway.
Alright, I just can't take anymore. I've never read a book so in need of an editor in my life. The author apparently has such a low opinion of his reader that everything has to be spelled out - blatantly and repeatedly. There is absolutely no subtlety here. There are phrases so melodramatic they'll make your eyes roll, and paragraphs so dry you imagine the author intended to come back and polish them up later. This book reads like an unaltered first draft - punctation and spelling mistakes included. And it's a shame, because the story had some potential. Unfortunately that potential blew away in the author's long-windedness and histrionics.
This book is excellent, but I just can't read anymore of it. In my current state of mind, it's just "too real" for me. Every time I think about readin...moreThis book is excellent, but I just can't read anymore of it. In my current state of mind, it's just "too real" for me. Every time I think about reading it I feel depressed. Lately I've needed to read in order to get away from my own reality, not to be stabbed in the gut with someone else's. So, it's back to non-contemporary, non-real books for me. I hope to read this book in the future when I'm not so emotionally affected.(less)