Sharon's Reviews > Geek Love

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
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's review
Jul 16, 2007

liked it

This is a book about a traveling carnival family that, mainly through the use of altering chemicals administered during pregnancy, deliberately breeds its own family of sideshow freaks--including a flippered aqua-boy, singing Siamese twins, and a hunchbacked albino dwarf. It is also a book about the perception of normalcy and beauty, and about the joys and sorrows of living as an outcast from the world at large.

By all rights I should have loved this book, but I only really liked it. Dunn's conception of using circus freaks as a springboard to explore misfits and the dark emotions that bubble under the surface of the "norm" world is inspired, and her writing is often poetic and sensitive enough to make it work. There are so many amazing, challenging ideas here that it is worth exploring--including the Arturan cult the aquaboy develops that involves people voluntarily cutting off limbs to become more beautiful, and a similar idea an heiress hatches later to divest young women of their most beautiful features so they will not be distracted by superficial relationships and will succeed as brilliant minds.

However, I felt that the author did not care enough about her characters to sell us completely into their bizarre drama, or perhaps they are just too unlikable with some of the unthinkable things they do. Overall, I felt this book was mainly a thinly veiled book about compelling ideas, and on that level it worked wonderfully.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Jennifer Thinky

Jennifer Thinly veiled. I like that description. The book seems as if it will be profound yet the shock value overshadws that for me.

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