Disorderly Review

Disorderly

Disorderly coverWelcome to the journal/diary of Colton Reznik, a writer, cancer survivor, and miserable, self-pitying, pathetic son of a bitch.  His brain tumor is in remission, and in the horrible, chemotherapied process of getting there, his girlfriend left him, his friends and family seemed to desert him, and his father still thinks he needs to get a real job.

Could it get worse for a guy who bears a grudge against everyone, who codependantly shoves away those who care for him like they were leperous bungee jumpers- screw off, come back, screw off, come back?  Yup.

In the news there was that guy who ate that other guy’s face, down in Florida.  “Bath salts.” Sure, Colton ponders more about how you would eat a person’s face  (“Do you start with the nose, since it’s meaty and protruding?”) than about the ramifications of the growing manifestations of this kind of atrocity.  He writes an acidic entry in his blog about it, and that gets met with “outlandish positivity.”    Except for a guy who said it was actually a “government-driven experiment, possibly gone awry.”   Colton goes down that e-rabbit hole, and reads a conspiracy site about the undead and how to identify them.  Colton is intrigued, sure, in that skeptical, this is funny B.S. sort of way.  Should he have paid more attention?  Hmmmm.

Then….

One night, while drunk and in a vengeful mood, he lobs a rock through a store window.  He runs away, but quickly loses breath, as he’s in horrible physical condition due to a total, pitiful disregard for trying to get healthy again.  Also, the blood pressure is giving him a nauseating headache. A man comes staggering out of the shadows, Colton wheezes for help, and the man approaches, shambling, must be drunk but doesn’t quite seem like it, his face is reminiscent of the description on the conspiracy site…

He wakes up in a hospital room with a huge bandage on the side of his throat and a lot of questions.  Plus his bitch mother and uncaring father in the room, like he needed that.

Thus we begin Colton Reznik’s none-too-hurried search for answers.  What was with the bum that bit him?  Why is he suddenly feeling better?  Why did his cancer shrink to almost nothing?   How come after a while his face is practically rotting off?  Why is he so hungry for xx-rare-cooked bloody meat?  How can he keep anyone from looking in his freezer??

Jayme Karales has written for us a first-person character who’s a pathetic, self-centered a-hole.  Since he’s a cancer survivor, our first instinct as a reader is to be concerned, and to assume that this is a person whose victory has meaning and power. Karales quickly destroys those preconceptions.  This guy’s personality is his worst cancer.  He’s horrible.  But, unlike other books I’ve read, the inability to connect with the main character didn’t make me want to shut off my e-reader and wash my eyes out with a liberal oral application of Guinness extra stout.  I was just enough intrigued to finger-slide to the next page.

Karales wrote about cancer with an authority that is surely either well-researched, or personally experienced.  Though the main character is a douche, there are some supporting characters who are human enough to keep you afloat in the main character’s negative morasse.

As for the plot, it’s original enough (the zombie thing has been so popular for years now that there are practically no approaches that haven’t already been exploited), especially in that you aren’t given all the info you need to make it logical.  No raccoon city, no comet, no voodoo.  There are mysterious individuals that lean toward the deus ex machina, but that never happens in full.  Kudos to Karales for not spoon-feeding us the device.

The ending befits the story well, even if you can figure out what happens pretty quickly once a certain other thing happens.  Nope, I won’t give it away.  But it’s the right ending for this book.

I have no idea what the name of the book has to do with its contents.  The cover is cool looking, but it leads you to think “Disorderly- as in a hospital orderly who is counter to a quality employee.”  Nope.  Disarray is more appropriate a meaning, if not outright Misanthropy.

The experience of reading this book reminds me a little of when I read “A Confederacy of Dunces.”  I found the main character of that book, Ignatius J. Reilly, to be abhorrent.  However, “A Confederacy of Dunces” had me laughing at the antics, and the dialogue.   “Disorderly” has some humorous interactions sprinkled with a miser’s touch throughout it.  However, the abusive, acerbic tone of Colton, and his makes-me-want-to-punch-you-in-your-rotting-face self pity, are fairly humorless.

If reading is a feast, this is the small, spicy appetizer.  It won’t sate your hunger for entertainment, but at least it had a big flavor.

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