Squirting across the sunburned landscape of Southern California, Body High is a journey marked by misplaced lust, mistaken fathers, lost semen, and the kidnapping of a sperm bank daughter, whose untainted kidneys may hold the key to redemption or, perhaps, the realization of its impossibility.
Wow, I was not at all prepared for such a meaningful and deep story, after observing the hilarious cover. Poor Leland and his traumatic upbringing, leaving him damaged and unsure of everything. This book beautifully covers a wide range of topics from depression, death, substance and alcohol abuse, grieving, child abuse, and addiction. It has many spots that will make you laugh, which are needed with such heavy themes, but the emotional components are never lost. Jon Lindsey perfectly captures the mindset of the main character here, and brings you right into his scattered and impulsive decisions, with plenty of insight. It's short, but never misses a step, and the ending was perfect. It honestly reminded me of one of those indie movies that you watch because you can't sleep, it's free, and on late, but ends up hooking you in and leaving you with a lot of lasting thoughts. It may not be for everyone, namely those who have not had much experience with the aforementioned topics, but I think most people will have a very positive experience with Body High.
This book was so much more than I expected. There is a plethora of emotion flailing through a surrounding ocean of lies; protagonists who care for those that are too selfish to return the sentiment, drugs, ennui, and some very dangerous agendas . But the burgeoning strength and wisdom of the main character, mixed with episodes of humor, provide a balance to some very unstable circumstances. Recommended.
Body High is a masterpiece. I don’t use that term lightly. You will read it and be in awe of the fact that it’s Lindsey’s debut.
I refuse to spoil anything by discussing the story, because it’s a hell of a story with a gutting and astounding climax. Jon has managed to write a page-turner in gorgeous and poetic yet clean and concise prose. Sometimes “literary” novels get lost in their literariness, favoring aesthetic over story. Not this. Body High has reached a perfect equilibrium, which is so rare, and refreshing, and impressive.
Death. Love. Drugs. Black market organs. Wrestling. LA. Sperm donations. Guns. Family. Sex. Love (again). Life. It has everything.
In sum, Body High was hard to put down. I was sad that it ended at all. It was like waking up from a strange and twisted and beautiful dream. I wanted to live in it. I will certainly read it again (and again).
***I received a copy of this book in advance of publication, in preparation for an interview with the author***
So often in literary fiction, nothing happens. The writing may be good, but the plot itself is a snooze. Such is not the case in Jon Lindsey's BODY HIGH, a novel that turns, again and again, on conflicts both bombastic and utterly real. The result is sexy, dark, emotionally rich and incredibly well earned. This is a book that slaps. Like the palm of a rough, weathered, loving hand, right on the fattest ass cheek, where it feels best.
This is one of those rare books that I never want to end. It's short, disturbing, and full of every emotion. Leland is a confused, lonely kid who makes his living by selling his vital organs and participating in high paying, but very risky medical experiments. When his younger, beautiful aunt arrives on the scene, the story starts to unfold. Shocking in many areas, funny, sad, and beautiful, I highly recommend this one.
Jon Lindsey’s Body High is a brilliantly burning,dazzlingly paced, high energy nebula which follows a beautiful and heartbreaking arc through a new cosmos of intoxicating prose which is dizzyingly inspired that includes a trajectory founded upon love, dark humor, family, addiction, loss, pain, and pathos, all of which reminds us as readers that we are each seeking in the complexity of our daily lives some transcendent hand to reach out and let us know that, not only somehow, in someway it will one day be ok, but also somewhere in the impossible density of the fractured nature of the world and each other, we are in fact all connected, and this book is one of those hands that reaches out to let you know that when the nebula finally does crash and leave behind its own new universe spilled out in text onto the page, we will be all that remains, even if “ever so slowly,” we too, “disappear into that unity.”
-Phillip Freedenberg Author of America and the Cult of the Cactus Boots: A Diagnostic
Body High is a careening drug frenzy through the ashes of Los Angeles. Imagine Michelangelo’s Pietà if Christ had an oozing boil on his ass. Garbage Pail Kids as high art. Jon Lindsey plunges us in a fetid river of organ thieves and incest, and pulls us up baptized.
“I remember kissing my mom with tongue. As a child. Eating spaghetti in my underwear, I was imitating lovers on television. Asking for a kiss. Then forcing my noodles into her mouth. She threw me from the couch ‘Kissing like that is for people in love,’ she said. ‘I love you,’ I said.”
Oh Jon Lindsey, what the hell did I just read. I was brought to you by Sam Pink, Tao Lin and a girl I met through tinder in 2018 (we visited soft skull publishing 5 years ago and they gave us some free books). I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just say that the cover of this book is atrocious. And as a debut novel, it’s fantastic.
Thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel by Mr Lindsey who paints an excellent picture of what its like to be washed out and depressed with a oozing pimple on your bum in LA. It's sad, funny and brave in Lindsey's painful honesty about family trauma and drug addiction. I wish it was longer. Can't wait for more of his stuff :)
A nightmare story under the burning hot California sun of dissociated, dissatisfied, and delusional people navigating a world that makes less and less sense, fuelled by opiates and generational abuse. Written in sharp, concise sentences, this novel was nearly impossible to put down.
I really enjoyed this. Well written, gross, and super propulsive. I saw some comparisons to movies by the Safdie Brothers and I can absolutely see that; Body High strikes a great balance between fun & stressful.
Started as a 5 then fell to a 3. The book's magic waned by the midpoint. The storyline with the protagonist's daughter was unbelievable. A kid wouldn't act like she did after being kidnapped. Instead it was like the protagonist had visitation rights and took her to the beach for the day. I understand the ending was meant to have some poetry to it, but it was at the expense of believability. I would read something else by this writer. The first half of the book had a unique energy. I'm interested in what he does next.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
"The bed is burning, her own mother’s quilt is tucked under her chin, the manic, skeletal grin of her second-hand dentures beside her in a glass of water—but then it’s not my mom, it's Jolene on the futon, body like a gummy worm, seizures from electroshocks—hot coffee burns my hands—the heat of Jolene saying, 'Don’t you want to kiss me?'—and my mom’s feet touching me in bed, so ice cold they were on fire."
Finally, a book that doesn’t end in recovery. That shows the smorgasbord of Los Angeles and not the usual one-course meal. That’s funny but not a joke. That has characters and a plot that makes you want to keep going. Plus, I do judge a book by its cover. This one has the best I’ve seen in years. What’s the novel about? Why don’t you read it! That’s how this shit works.
After getting hooked by the Kindle sample I renewed a subscription to “Amazon Unlimited” to finish the rest; will likely buy a physical copy. Beautifully written, a grotesque adventure whips you through numerous scenes of LA. Though funny and sad from the dark comic absurdity of the whole situation, the book is really a horror story in disguise about a hereditary psychological cycle that can never end, with everyone down the chain both perpetrator and victim.
I genuinely don’t know how to feel about this book. It was giving creative writing 101 on the prose but the plot was insane. If this book was one page longer I would’ve crawled out of my skin and puked from reading it. Absolutely repulsive.
This book is gross and funny and exciting and interesting. It is provocative in all ways a book could ever be. The narrator's self-involvement is on the level of debilitating and I found this really humorous. Just a really great read.
I picked up this book in the small press section of Powells in Portland because of the crazy cover and hilarious reviews. I couldn’t put it down because of the surprisingly deeply introspective and revealing writing. Lindsey’s debut novel is beautifully and hilariously written, unexpectedly disgusting in the most delicious way, and very much worth the read. I was a bit disappointed by the end. I wish it felt more punctuated, but expected from a first time author. I truly cannot wait for more of his stuff