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Heart of Junk

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  147 ratings  ·  43 reviews
A hilarious debut novel about an eclectic group of merchants at a Kansas antique mall who become implicated in the kidnapping of a local beauty pageant star.

The city of Wichita, Kansas, is wracked with panic over the abduction of toddler pageant princess Lindy Bobo. However, the dealers at The Heart of America Antique Mall are too preoccupied by their own neurotic
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 21st 2020 by Simon Schuster
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Average rating 3.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  147 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Thank you, Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for sending me a digital ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

This seems to be a very conflicted novel. Either people love it or loathe it. I thought the writing was excellent. The dialogue was crisp and very humorous. Keep in mind, this book is a SATIRE. Not everyone will enjoy this particular genre because some of the characters are written in a stereotypical way, but it's NOT to be taken seriously, which is the point of a satire. If you don't get
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As I was reading this, I was finishing the process of unpacking both my own and some of my late mother's possessions into a new apartment. (Moving really cuts into your reading time, by the way.) There's nothing like moving to make you wonder why you have what you have ("OK, I declare a moratorium on buying nail polish"), why you're missing things you need (how did I not have my own can opener, and where did I put the shower curtain hooks?!), and where your possessions fit into your life. So I ...more
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it
“Heart of Junk” by Luke Geddes has such a fun and enticing cover that I knew I had to pick it up. The cover reminded me of some of the things I’ve been holding onto since childhood, such as the first book I ever read (“Fun With Dick and Jane”) and mementos from family and friends. I feel good about keeping those items but I know there are lots of old treasures (junk) I could get rid of at a place like the “Heart of America Antique Mall.” Geddes has written a satirical novel about a group of ...more
Deedi (DeediReads) Brown
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
All my reviews live at

TL;DR review: Heart of Junk is a laugh-inducing, refreshing little story that will tug at your heart strings harder than you expect. Every character is weird a lovable and well-written. I loved it.

For you if: You’re looking for a good giggle, and maybe to have your heart cracked open a little bit.

Big thank you to the folks over at Simon & Schuster for sending me an advanced review copy of this book! You were right, this was right up my
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
very funny and a very full 240 pages and plotty (I love plot). I don’t have to care about what happens to enjoy a book or even be particularly curious, but I did care and was curious. Read in two sittings if such a metric holds weight for you.
Dec 14, 2019 rated it liked it
2.75 stars rounded up.
I used to seek out the local antique malls every time I arrived in a small town so the world of Wichita, Kansas’ fictional The Heart of America Antique Mall is one I am very familiar with. The author did an admirable job of setting the stage for his unique / strange group of dealers selling everything from cut glass to collectible records reinforcing that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. And while I enjoyed the references to the many toys and music from my
Lolly K Dandeneau
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
via my blog:
'A collection was a record of a life lived, maybe not well or happily but at least with attention and passion. It was an autobiography made tangible.'

The Heart of America Antique Mall in the city of Wichita, Kansas is going under. For the impassioned collectors of what to others may be junk, this has been the one place they can display and sell the collectibles that are their lifeblood. They themselves are a collection of misfits, as strange and
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was so primed to enjoy this book. As a 45 year old vinyl collector with the heart of a punk and a penchant for MCM and antique malls who lives in Wichita, KS, I was ready to poke fun of myself, smile, and enjoy a light ride. I saw the author speak at Watermark in Wichita during a small ice flurry. He was late to the talk (I assume weather-related), and was a little flustered when he arrived. He was nervous, self-deprecating, and talked with affection for esoteric weirdo music and visiting ...more
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: satire
If you've ever wandered through an antique mall and marveled over some of the stuff some people choose to value and the people who make their living providing those things, you'll probably enjoy this satirical novel. It takes semi polite potshots at a number of classic misfits and self involved bulldozers while sniffing at the kinds of items being offered and purchased for unexpected prices. I snickered a lot.
I requested and received a free ebook copy from Simon and Schuster Publishing via
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
In the beginning, I had high hopes for this book! It was purchased as a mystery book (wrapped in paper) and I was pleasantly surprised at the laugh out loud moments and the idiosyncrasies of the characters. However, after a while, I realized I had no one to root for. Unfortunately, most of the characters in this book are assholes and I found it difficult to invest in their development.
Dec 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The concept here was great, and I think overall the story would work well as a tv series or miniseries but the writing was a letdown. Some parts of this book seemed a bit homophobic and racist, sometimes both at the same time! Most of the characters were bigots in one way or another. Lots of self hate going on with the characters too, phew. Maybe the author is struggling with their own sense of identity I don't know but it sure was hard to read at times.

I'm going with 2.5-3 stars here because I
Sep 22, 2019 added it
Shelves: own, dnf, arc
DNF. Nope. Not interesting to me.
Dec 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Thank you to Simon and Schuster for this copy in exchange for my honest review.

The Heart of America Antique Mall in Wichita, Kansas is filled with an interesting cast of characters. From Margaret, the longest-running vendor who judges other vendors and the "trash" they sell, to Delores, the Barbie collector whose dolls "speak" to her, each person is more unique than the next. Couple Lee and Seymour arrive back at Lee's hometown after their store in Massachusetts failed, hoping to make a fresh
Luanne Ollivier
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
And now for something completely different..... I loved the cover of Luke Geddes' new book Heart of Junk - all those little pieces of treasure. Or, depending on your viewpoint, junk.

I love flea markets, antique stores, garage sales etc. Geddes has set his book in the fictional Heart of America antique mall in Wichita, Kansas. There's lots of excitement at the mall - Mark and Grant from the tv show Pickin’ Fortunes are rumored to be coming to Heart of America to film an episode. Young Lindy Bobo
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, humor, mystery
The set-up: The Heart of America mall is billed as "the largest year-round antiques market in the state of Kansas". It used to be quite the thriving business but times have changed. "Antiques" have largely been replaced by collectibles, flea market bargains, and just plain junk sold by a motley assortment of oddballs and misfits - a few old timers, a few newcomers, and a lot of empty space.

It's an open secret that the place is on the verge of permanently closing up shop. An impending visit by
Kristina Leonard
This is one I really wanted to love---a darkly comic tale about a group of merchants who share space (sometimes acrimoniously) in a Wichita, Kansas, antique mall circa 2009. Two things connect the various stories: a visit from Mark and Grant, hosts of an Antique Roadshow-style show and the panic that's inflamed Wichita when a toddler beauty pageant contestant named Lindy Bobo goes missing.

I loved some of the storylines, particularly the conflict between repressed lesbian Margaret who takes an
Ramona Mead
Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Three and a half stars. This is a wonderfully weird novel. The story centers around an eclectic group of folks who run booths at an indoor antiques mall. As you might expect, there are some big personalities and some drama. There are also some sellers with odd abilities and/or connections to the items they collect. The merchants are all currently frantic over the recent disappearance of young pageant princess Lindy Bobo. There's mystery and suspense, and plenty of humor - most of it of the dark ...more
Linda Frances
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This isn't my usual genre, but the synopsis sounded interesting, and it's very impressive for a first novel. The book is about a struggling antique/flea market mall, with each chapter concentrating on a different character. And what a bunch of characters they are! There's the mall owner and his sulky teenage daughter, the snoopy busybody, the lonely widower, the gay couple new to the mall, the woman that's a little too involved with her Barbie collection, and more. Oh, yes, there's a child ...more
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
How to even sum this one up...A somewhat crazy mix of antique dealers are all preoccupied with their own obsessions and collections (from "talking" Barbies to postcards) while the rest of the city panics over the disappearance of Lindy Bobo, child pageant star. This was a really odd book, but I enjoyed it. I think 10-15 years ago, I probably would have liked it more, back when Sellevision and Plainclothes Naked were two of my most re-read books. It has that same kind of matter-of-fact delivery ...more
Kathleen Gray
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Know in advance that this is light satire and that the characters are in many ways caricatures- but it is chuckleworthy. You likely will recognize some of those who sell at the Heart of America antique mall. If you've wandered through one of these emporiums, you'll definitely recognize their wares. And Mark and Grant, the tv hosts who plan to film an episode of their show at the mall- you'll know them too. That doesn't mean that anything that happens is expected. The disappearance of Lindy, a ...more
Feb 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor
3.5 stars. Luke Geddes is a 2011 graduate of Wichita State's MFA in creative writing program. I had a chance to hear him speak a couple of weeks ago at our local bookstore. In person, he is funny and warm with a dry wit and he surely has a bright future. The book though is odd and quirky; set in a fictional antique mall in Wichita, KS and it was fun to read about familiar places, although some of his characters are a bit snobby, snarky, and downright mean about life in Wichita. Geddes is not ...more
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
I don't often read fiction, but this one was promoted as a hysterical quirky romp, which I'm usually down for (Eleanor Oliphant..., Where'd You Go Bernadette, et al.) but this one was way too dark to be funny. The writing was good, the plot.... so-so, and the ending unsatisfying. There was no sympathy for potentially complex characters, and no redemption for anyone (or if there was some sort of redemption, it was hollow and incomplete). I do think this would be a good book club read, however, ...more
Feb 06, 2020 rated it liked it
This book offers kind of a strange group of quirky characters & a bit of a comedy of errors. There isn't a mystery, but a goofy, mistimed clashing of events that lead the reader to smile, chuckle, shake your how this is going to play out! Regarding the writing style.....the author tends to use very long sentences.....I'd notice it as I was reading it....& think 'boy, that was a lot packed into that sentence!' But it ultimately worked.....I was able to adjust to it without ...more
Jan 24, 2020 rated it liked it
I had very high hopes for this novel but was left feeling a bit disappointed. In a mall that is filled with antique booths, we are introduced to a slew of characters, some definitely more interesting than others. The most interesting were the very by the book Margaret, and the very complex Ronald. There were some very very odd characters like the Barbie obsessed Delores. The book had alternating perspectives but I felt that it was a bit too short. I liked the quirky tone of the book but overall ...more
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: debut-2020
Geddes has created a wonderfully weird world filled with just as weird characters. His humor oozes from the pages and is reminiscent of the writing of Patrick deWitt. The story is about an antique mall which will be the featured location on an antique shopping show. The characters are really what drives this book. Geddes allows them to have room to breath and get into antics worthy of the Golden Age of Sitcoms. The book also has heart. It’s serious in the right places, but never takes itself too ...more
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved the setting of this book in an antique mall and the characters were amusing. I found it interesting that the story was told through collectables in a way. The mall is going under and outside the mall a young girl is missing. A very intriguing read. I enjoyed it.

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
Tristan Munoz
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
I love the setting of the antique mall. It was very interesting to read about each individual's thoughts. Every character was so unique.

In the beginning, I was into the story, but it turned out to be very anti-climatic. It had potential, but I feel like the story just didn't reach that full potential.

Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This novel is brimming with passion and wit, an unwavering look at the value we place on both the people and things in our lives. The bittersweetness, and often achingly sad, look at the lives and accomplishments of these characters is encompassed in a truly empathetic, ardent yet scrutinizing look at the things we love and what they do for us, who they make us, and what that all could possibly mean.
Carol Custer
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is advertised as 'hilarious satire' but to me it was just sad. Lots of characters that go beyond quirky (I guess that's where the satire comes in). Yes, there are moments of humor bot the overall feeling of the book for me was just overwhelming sadness. It does, however, paint a picture of how pathetic a life devoted to acquisition can be and for this, I'll give it three stars.
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved all of the kooky weirdos in this story. This story is like if Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine took place in an antique shop. It’s Needful Things minus most of the horror. It’s hilarious and sad and hopeful and tragic. I wish it was longer so we could spend more fleshing out the characters and their backstories.

Netgalley provided me with an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Luke Geddes holds a PhD in comparative literature and creative writing from the University of Cincinnati. Originally from Appleton, Wisconsin, he now lives Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the author of the short story collection I am a Magical Teenage Princess and his writing has appeared in Conjunctions, Mid-American Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Washington Square, The Comics Journal, Electric ...more
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