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Group Reads > August 2009 Group Read -- Jack and Mr. Grin -- SPOILERS

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message 1: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) | 19935 comments This is a smaller book than normal, so unless someone thinks it's necessary, I'm not going to break the discussion into two or three different threads. I might change my mind once I receive my copy. So be aware of spoilers.


message 2: by William (new)

William (acknud) How does it sound if someone is talking while they are grinning?


message 3: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) | 19935 comments Like every politician sounds while digging around in your pocket for your wallet.


message 4: by Christy (new)

Christy Stewart (christyleighstewart) I just got done with it, and it was pretty good.

The best part was Andersen's photo in the back. I thought his profile photo was cute, but that one was VERY nice.

Put nude photos of yourself in your next book, Andersen, and I'll preorder it now.


message 5: by Jerrod (new)

Jerrod (liquidazrael) | 712 comments I imagine the character perpetually talking with the same look as Jack as the Joker, always with a smile.


message 6: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) | 19935 comments I'm going to start it as soon as it's delivered, but anyone else who has finished it feel free to start the discussion. I'm the "leader" for this discussion but you won't be stepping on my toes if you post some questions or comments to get the ball rolling.

Oh, and I'm all for the nude pics, too. "Married but not dead," as they say.


message 7: by Christy (new)

Christy Stewart (christyleighstewart) Is it alright if we post spoilers?

My favorite part was the pads being duct taped to Jack. I laughed hard.


message 8: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) | 19935 comments Yes, go ahead and post spoilers since this is the main discussion thread. I won't be back here until I've read the book. Have fun until then.


message 9: by Christy (new)

Christy Stewart (christyleighstewart) Okay then, I thought the reunion part was a bit lame.

"We're safe...Marry me?"

"Ya, sure."

The whole ending was a bit anticlimactic.


message 10: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) | 19935 comments I'm almost finish with Mr. Grin. Have to say that I love the Sam character! I thought he'd be too disgusting to like--sort of like that Booger character in those '80s comedies like Revenge of the Nerds--and he's slightly gross but I like his perseverance and cool head in emergencies.

I want to kill Mr. Grin myself.


message 11: by Scott (new)

Scott William wrote: "How does it sound if someone is talking while they are grinning?"

They sound like Jack Nicholson.



message 12: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) | 19935 comments The big mouth on the cover does remind me of Nicholson's crazy grin.

I can't believe Sam died...sort of. I think the ending confused me a little. Mr. Grin just took over Biggs' body? What was up with that dirt company? Who wouldn't question their job of shoveling piles of dirt into small boxes and shipping them off? Why would Mr. Grin have the showdown at the hotel if so many people there helped Jack? Is Gina otherwordly since she's adopted?


message 13: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 6 comments my question after reading it is why did gina want dirt all over her at the end? did i miss the reason?
i liked this book however, just maybe me personally, i could have done without the highly detailed raping parts. i understood the need for it in the book, but the detailed noises and everything...well for me freaked me out.


message 14: by Tressa (last edited Aug 08, 2009 08:15AM) (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) | 19935 comments She rubbed the dirt all over her because it somehow erased the memory of being kidnapped and raped by Mr. Grin. Jack refused to because he wanted to remember, I guess so in the future he wouldn't let down his guard about the awful things that could happen to them.

I never did understand if Gina was taken because she is some kind of supernatural being. Remember that she was adopted after she was found wandering around as a toddler (I think this is how it was explained).

The described rape and torture sounds over the phone were pretty graphic.

Am I wrong in thinking that Gina was never described? If so I find that odd because an author usually finds some way to describe a character. Sam was perfectly described, and I even remember learning what Jack looks like.


message 15: by Christy (new)

Christy Stewart (christyleighstewart) He mentioned how hot she was a few times.


message 16: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) | 19935 comments I pictured them as an average looking man and woman. I think she's blonde. Jack thinks she's hot because he's in love with her.


message 17: by Scott (new)

Scott I am 136 pages in and it is pretty mundane so far. When does the "bizarro" kick in?


message 18: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) | 19935 comments You're a tough nut, Scott.


message 19: by Christy (new)

Christy Stewart (christyleighstewart) Scott wrote: "I am 136 pages in and it is pretty mundane so far. When does the "bizarro" kick in?"

I'm a bit with you. It was more 'I'm searching for my kidnapped girlfriend' and less Bizarro.



message 20: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) | 19935 comments But didn't bizarro things happen while he was searching for his girlfriend?


message 21: by Scott (new)

Scott Only at the very end.

I had to skim the last 50 pages because I just couldn't take it any more.


message 22: by Jerrod (new)

Jerrod (liquidazrael) | 712 comments have you read any more bizarro novels scott.


message 23: by Scott (new)

Scott I don't think anything else I've read would qualify for the label, and if this is typical I won't be--although this one was not so much bizarro as boring.


message 24: by Christy (new)

Christy Stewart (christyleighstewart) I agree with Scott, the end was the bizarro part, the other stuff would just be...paranormal? Fantasy?


message 25: by Jerrod (new)

Jerrod (liquidazrael) | 712 comments You might not be interested in any more bizarro then scott. The rest of bizarro, although are more 'bizarro' are very lacking in story, that I've read anyway. I'm still hoping the genre will mature enough to be more entertaining though because I really like reading about weird environments and unusual characters, etc, etc. But not at the expense of a weak story or poorly constructed characters.


message 26: by Scott (new)

Scott What bothered me more than the lack of story was the poor quality of the writing itself. I felt like I was reading some middle school student's creative writing assignment--before it had been checked over.


message 27: by Jerrod (new)

Jerrod (liquidazrael) | 712 comments Scott; IMO this is one of the better written Bizarro novels I've read. So as fellow reader, you might not want to partake of much bizarro as you'll probably be disappointed. I think the genre has potential, but needs some refinement before it will gain any serious following.


message 28: by Scott (new)

Scott Thanks for the tips. I do like some surrealism in my stories (such as Jonathan Carroll) so it still interests me, but perhaps I'll wait a while before trying anything else specifically dubbed "bizarro."


message 29: by Christy (new)

Christy Stewart (christyleighstewart) Don't write it off, give it one more shot. This was my least favorite of the bizarro genre.


message 30: by Scott (new)

Scott Do you have any suggestions or recommendations?


message 31: by Christy (new)

Christy Stewart (christyleighstewart) Punk Land, it still makes me laugh.


message 32: by Scott (new)

Scott Well, I like the cover.


message 33: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) | 19935 comments Has anyone read Ligotti's My Work is Not Yet Done? That felt like bizarro to me, but since it's a new genre it's hard to know for sure. Or A Choir of Ill Children? That's well written and pretty bizarre.

I still liked this book. I didn't think it was slow at all. And it kept its sense of bizarro for me throughout the entire book. Is bizarro always other worldly? The circumstance he was in from the beginning wasn't just a random kidnapping, it had bizarro elements and so did the description of his job.

I don't know. Maybe I just don't get the meaning of real bizarro.


message 34: by Christy (new)

Christy Stewart (christyleighstewart) I find defining bizarro is like defining love.

Everyone who's had it, gets it.

I enjoy the entertainment of it, but wouldn't get too involved myself.


message 35: by Andersen (new)

Andersen Prunty (andersenprunty) | 2 comments Thanks a lot for buying Jack and taking the time to read it. It was fun to see what you all thought about it.

Tressa- I really enjoyed both My Work is Not Yet Done and A Choir of Ill Children.


message 36: by Jason (new)

Jason | 176 comments Off topic - A Choir of Ill Children is a top 40 favorite of mine and is rather bizarre.

Anyway, I would say that the bizarro really kicked in at the hotel. The keys were a nice suspense builder.
I really enjoyed the time Jack spent with Sam and enjoyed his character more than any other in the book, the neighbor was also quite interesting.

Something I noticed and remembered after I read the book was the part with the neighbor when he was staring at the tree and talking about it and then towards the end when Jack discovers the tree in the hotel, foreshadowing or just a coincidence?


message 37: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) | 19935 comments I guess it's the old adage: Don't introduce a gun in act one if you're not going to shoot it in act five. Or however it goes. I bet it's more than just coincidence.

What kind of people buys the dirt they ship off?




message 38: by Jerrod (new)

Jerrod (liquidazrael) | 712 comments Live in an area with poor soil quality I suppose. We see it in MT all the time. They take to good dirt from the valley and ship it to the upper class neighborhoods with almost no soil and leave us with nothing but rocks. Their is a market for everything.


message 39: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) | 19935 comments The dirt was packed into small boxes, and if rubbed over the body makes the person forget something traumatic. Do I have this right? My book is at home so I'll have to look it up to see what Jack's girlfriend told him exactly. Wondering now if one can be choosy about what they want to forget.


message 40: by Jerrod (new)

Jerrod (liquidazrael) | 712 comments I don't remember what the dirt was for, I didn't see it as a main thread to keep track of. It would be great to be choosy about what we forgot though. But I didn't see packing dirt in boxes, small or large, as odd.


message 41: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) | 19935 comments I guess I should get out more often. I never heard of packing dirt in small boxes. I think even Jack thought his job was odd.

Some of the plot was tied up in the dirt job. His boss' body was taken over by Mr. Grin, and Jack isn't sure if the picture of Gina he kept on display in the tent caught the attention of his boss, and that's why she was kidnapped. Then there's the special memory-forgetting dirt.


message 42: by Christy (new)

Christy Stewart (christyleighstewart) I'm with you Tressa, but as a bizarro novel I was accepting it as...bizarro. If you can justify it, it isn't bizarro any longer.


message 43: by Jerrod (new)

Jerrod (liquidazrael) | 712 comments I didn't find it odd since I've done it myself. I worked at a sapphire mine before I was of legal age to work and packed dirt that was mined so people could sift for sapphires at home, since Yogo Sapphires are only found in Montana.


message 44: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) | 19935 comments Oh, I can accept that job duty as bizarro, but since Jerrod mentioned it's a legitimate business IRL I just thought I'd allow the curious side of me to take over and get to the bottom of it, lol.

I guess what strikes me is that even Jack wasn't sure what people were doing with the dirt. If it were an answer as definite as sifting for sapphires or some other legitimate reason for the company's existence, he wouldn't have been so curious or puzzled himself.

Oh, I'm just making too much out of the whole dirt thing, I guess. I was just wondering if all the dirt was "magical" and what people receving it were going to do with it once delivered.


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