Lea's Reviews > Fever Chart

Fever Chart by Bill Cotter
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Mar 22, 12

bookshelves: acquired-2011, books-i-own, bookswap, favorites, read-2012, reviews
Read from March 19 to 22, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 1

Oh. My. Gosh.

I LOVED this book -- loved it, loved it, loved it.

Got this from a GR friend, then took nearly a year (or more?) to get around to reading it -- better late than never, right?

It's hard to categorize this book (or even to know who would really enjoy it) -- it isn't funny in the way most people would enjoy; most of the characters are unconventional, even unlikable; and the story meanders quite a bit. In short, it definitely isn't the sort of thing you read every day -- but I'm a big fan of weird, so the odder it got, the more I enjoyed it.

Jerome Coe is like the Angel of Death for any woman he falls in love with (and, boy, does he fall in love easy -- he doesn't even have to know the girl, he can fall in love with just the idea of her -- and we're talking obsessive stalkery love, here).

He has debilitating mental issues -- hallucinations and breaks with reality -- that keep him rotating in and out of mental institutions. For whatever reason -- and I don't think it's ever made clear -- Jerome is just emotionally fragile, and completely unable to cope with life.

Despite his ongoing problems, Jerome has a certain amount of charm -- he's sweet, even if he is unstable, and he constantly struggles to do what he feels is the right thing. Unfortunately, Jerome's compulsion to do the right thing perpetually backfires, hurting those he cares about.

Most of the book takes place in New Orleans, where Jerome goes to make a fresh start. He falls in and out of love/obsession, and in and out of sanity, but the book really starts to gel when people from his past re-enter his life -- he also develops a new crush, which will affect his life in a very profound way.

Part of the story does seem unnecessary, although it sets a mood and helps reinforce Jerome as an ineffectual and doomed person. Some of what seems unnecessary does come into play later in the book, some of it doesn't. That's probably my only complaint with the book.

For me, the strongest part of the book was (view spoiler)

I've seen this compared to A Confederacy of Dunces -- it's been a while since I've read it, but I think both books have that same gritty, sweaty, N.O. vibe. So if you enjoyed one, you just might like the other, too.

Highly Recommend!
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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David Katzman haha! Worth the trade, eh?


message 2: by Lea (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lea David wrote: "haha! Worth the trade, eh?"

Ha! I obviously made out better than you did!


message 3: by Ed (new) - added it

Ed Hogan Wow--what a glowing review. Already added to my futures list.
Was in your fair city last week. Still recovering from barbecue overload....


message 4: by Lea (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lea Ed wrote: "Wow--what a glowing review. Already added to my futures list.
Was in your fair city last week. Still recovering from barbecue overload...."


I hope you enjoy it, Ed -- it definitely isn't for everyone!

I hope the BBQ (did you eat at Dickey's while you were here?) made up for the yucky weather!


message 5: by Ed (new) - added it

Ed Hogan Ate at Hard 8, usually try and hit Dickey's or Randy's. When visiting my sister in Austin, it's Stubb's, Kreuz or the Salt Lick.


message 6: by Ed (new) - added it

Ed Hogan Oh, and it was the "Dunces" reference that got me.


message 7: by Lea (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lea For what it's worth, this book has a LOT of sex in it -- some of it kind of skeevy and some gratuitous. There's also a lot of general ickiness -- lots of sweat, blood and excrement. If you've ever seen the movie "Barfly", Fever Chart has the same tone.

Of course, I have a pretty weak stomach, LOL.


message 8: by Lea (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lea Ed wrote: "Ate at Hard 8, usually try and hit Dickey's or Randy's. When visiting my sister in Austin, it's Stubb's, Kreuz or the Salt Lick."

Ed wrote: "Ate at Hard 8, usually try and hit Dickey's or Randy's. When visiting my sister in Austin, it's Stubb's, Kreuz or the Salt Lick."



A true BBQ connoisseur!


message 9: by Ed (new) - added it

Ed Hogan Good BBQ is one of the things I miss the most. Love Mpls, but it's not known for the local/native cuisine.
And I love "Barfly".


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