Rebecca Reynolds has a problem. Like a reverse sense of empathy, she has the ability to broadcast every emotion she feels to everyone around her. To sRebecca Reynolds has a problem. Like a reverse sense of empathy, she has the ability to broadcast every emotion she feels to everyone around her. To solve this problem, she traps her feelings in personal objects and locks them away in Unit 207, E.Z Self Storage.
This becomes a problem when Rebecca's beloved sister Lisa dies and both she and her musician brother in law Lewis are forced to confront their grief in weird and totally unexpected ways.
An accidental near miss between their funeral car and a stolen white Honda Civic driven by Aby, a girl from a race of frog people or "Aquatics" desperate to find her dying mother leads all three characters on an adventure of Biblical proportions.
There's a storm on the horizon and it's heading straight for them.
The Waterproof Bible is an undeniably quirky read. Almost self-consciously so. Some of Kaufman's ideas are so imaginative, that whatever your final verdict on the book in question, you'll never forget having read it.
The story alternates between the three main characters before everything coming together at the end.
Personally I found the ending a little too forced for my liking. I didn't feel that everything was fully resolved at the end. Everything was tied up a little too neatly for my liking. I think the reason I could only give this book 3 stars despite my enjoyment of many elements of it is that I felt the author had too many ideas fighting for room and as it's a very short read, not all these ideas were developed as deeply and fully as they perhaps could've been in a longer novel. Some things were introduced and then never elaborated or commented on. I love imaginative fiction, but felt this could've been better handled.
I had a few questions I didn't feel got answered and relationships that I didn't feel were fully emotionally resolved by the book's ending, such as (view spoiler)[ Why did Stewart and Rebecca's and Lisa and Lewis' relationships fall apart. What were the key reasons for this shift? Did Edward have the same power as Rebecca, is that why he understood her condition? Why did Lisa suddenly die and what did she die of? What made Margaret leave the water and why did she stay so angry at her daughter even until her death? The mother/daughter anger between them was a little upsetting and I felt it could've been handled and resolved better. Was Lewis' Lisa really God or a figment of his imagination? (hide spoiler)]
I don't feel I have to have every aspect of a story laid out for me, but I was a bit thrown that certain aspects weren't revealed or explained.
The character I became most attached to (ironically) was Rebecca. I'm a creature of great sentiment myself and an emotional open book and whilst I don't share Rebecca's particular gift, I am a hoarder and I really liked the idea of your keepsakes holding an emotional part of you. I would've liked to have seen those ideas developed more over the course of the book. I felt Rebecca's story was really interesting and really enjoyed the flashbacks to her family life with her sister.
I really didn't like Lewis, he came across as a narcissistic hipster at first and his lack of feeling over his wife struck me as worrying. But I understand that was part of the plot. I just found him annoying!
I was really interested in finding out more about Lisa Reynolds as she struck me as an interesting character, but she remained a bit enigmatic sadly.
The parts with the rainmakers, the old hotel on the prairie and the boat building really stuck with me though.
Kaufman plays around with a lot of Biblical motifs - floods, burning bushes (this particular modern take on that idea amused me greatly. I won't spoil it!) and people losing their senses in the presence of God.
His introduction of the Aquatics race and their language and beliefs were very imaginative, but occasionally I felt he could've worked a bit better on his world building. Would a race of people who had evolved for thousands of years in the sea really have insurance, schools or suburbs just like us? (This might be the sci-fi geek in me pointing this out.)
Overall, Kaufman weaves an incredibly imaginative, funny and quirky tale with shades of darkness and weirdness. It's a story that has a lot to say about the things we believe and the things we hold on to and the importance of emotions and memories in shaping who we are.
And whilst, it didn't quite hit the right notes for me to absolutely love it, I'm glad I read it.
As an introduction to Kaufman's writing, I don't think it's the best. But I will definitely be giving "All My Friends Are Superheroes" a go soon as I like his imagination. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more