Annalisa's Reviews > Geek Love

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
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's review
Feb 12, 2008

it was ok
bookshelves: horror, guy-lit, psychology
Recommended to Annalisa by: some guy I don't know
Recommended for: people who like strange and unusual
Read in February, 2008

Recommended to me as a more carnival twisted story than Water for Elephants, it is the story of a couple who breeds freak children for the sake of their carnival show. In their twisted minds, it is done with love because deformities make you special, and marketable.

The characters are unusual, interesting, and well-written so initially I was drawn in, but about midway through the story was so way out there, I grew bored of it, annoyed with the distraction of minor characters I kept getting mixed up, and sickened by the abnormal, sociopathic tendencies. I found the twisted "philanthropist" strange and a character I could not completely get in her head to sympathize with her motives. I found the cultish demand for compliance from one of the brother's absurd and the level of sycophantic loving devotion he received unbelievable.

But I did find myself feeling passionately against it, so the book did arose emotions of anger and if I'm honest fear in me. I suppose that level of control is possible; I just wasn't buying it. I didn't believe the story anymore and I just wished the book would end. I'm not even done with the story (but close) and I don't care anymore what happens to the characters. Bright images of characters. The story is just too cheap-carnival unbelievable—which I suppose falls in line with the theme. But the writing is good and the characters, however unbelievable, well written. I will forever have the image of these vivid characters in my head.

So to summarize: physical freak ok, sociopathic freak too far. Maybe that says more about me that the book. While I didn't enjoy the book because I didn't buy into the psychology I wouldn't necessarily not recommend it. I liked the characters but not the direction of the plot. The end gave the book some redemptive power for me, but I was still left with a strange taste in my mouth. If you love freaky carnival things, this is definitely the book for you and I can completely understand why some people love this novel. I just didn't.
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Megan Loved your review... also love "freaky carvival things" but ended up hating this book! You are right ~ after such a strong beginning, it is hard to care about the characters. I actually began to despise them, Oly especially. A point came when I think Dunn lost her focus and just started adding freaky stuff for the sake of adding freaky stuff. And when everything was said and done, I still didn't feel as if I really knew any of the characters. It all felt rather staged and forced. Ironically, as if the reader were exposed to a freak show, instead of the real personalities behind it.

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