Books 4/2/05

I finished Sock by Penn Jillette. What a very odd book. I’m not really sure I got his ultimate point, but I sure enjoyed the ride! (In Mr. Jillette’s defense- I finished reading the book late at night with a severe headace, so my missing the point was most likely not entirely his fault.)

The story begins when our hero, known as Little Fool (for reasons explained momentarily), finds the body of an ex-lover in a New York river. He’s a police diver, so the finding of the body isn’t so unusual- it’s the fact that he knew her once, and that she appears to have been brutally murdered, that is. He decides to launch his own investigation, tracking all of her movements before her death, trying to put a reason to her death. Then more bodies show up.

So far this synopsis is probably sounding pretty straightforward, leading some of you to ask, why did you say it was such a very odd book? Allow me to explain. The story’s narrator is none other than Little Fool’s sock monkey, Dickie. The sock monkey his grandmother lovingly made for him, who has been with Little Fool from childhood, who knows his thoughts and feelings and calls him Little Fool because that’s how his owner refers to himself. Dickie is a foul mouthed, but unconditionally loving, little guy, whose knowledge of pop culture fills his narration with references- every paragraph ends with a line from a pop song. The references are part of what makes the story so fun, song lyrics become idioms, and they’re inserted so seamlessly that finding them all of them is as much a challenge as figuring out where they’re all from.

The book isn’t all about the gimmicks though- there’s a solid story here about a serial killer and one man’s flirting with mental breakdown as he deals with grieving over the loss of his past. It only got fuzzy for me toward the end (again, that could have been the headache and lack of sleep) when religion reared its head and I didn’t quite get the point that was trying really hard to make itself known. I would have been fine with just a book narrated by a sock monkey.

Current total: 26
Just Finished: Sock by Penn Jillette
Up Next: who knows?

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