Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Afterlife Diet by Daniel Pinkwater

What a strange little note to end the year on.

This book is all about fat. Extreme fat. It puts the "Oh!" in obesity.

It starts out in the afterlife, when one of the many (fat) characters you will meet finds himself, well, dead - murdered, in fact - but not much otherwise changed. He is an editor.

Another character, another fatty, is a writer. Thoughout this book, and in one rather extensive portion, we are exposed to his outrageous attempts at (science)fiction. It is baffling, ridiculous, atrocious, stranger than this book even. It's almost as if the author is trying to say, "You think this is strange? Check this out!" and showcase just how bad strange can be through this character's book proposals. It makes you appreciate the book you're reading.

The food in this book was varied and delicious. The author knew his subject well, you could tell. At least one character practically worships hot dogs.

Along the way we come across a therapist, a doctor, a couple motivational speakers, all who are in the business of fat reduction. Each is worse (?) than the other. Again, so baffling, ridiculous, atrocious, you have to laugh.

I read this book in two days - once you threw your hands up in the air and enjoyed the ride, went with the flow, and realized that this thing wasn't going to - and didn't have to - make sense, well, it started making sense. Splendidly ridiculous. All the pieces came together in the satisfying end, including, quite literally, the editor and author, who were both the main characters. This book was an entertaining, easy read. Nothing intellectual, but you didn't feel you had wasted your time because it was such a (unique) experience. However, it could lead to some real discussion on society and culture, particularly our self-obsession with fat. Not for everyone, you have to have an open mind for this sort of weirdness, but recommended. - 3 stars


Amanda said...

Seriously, I think this sounds like the most interesting book I've heard about in a long time. Wow. I'm adding it to my to-read list!

Grégoire said...

The first book I ever read for fun (the summer just before second grade started) was by him. Alan Mendelson the Martian.

Anonymous said...

The second best, (and most generous), review of this book I've seen. It almost makes me want to read it myself. (The first best review began, "I would say this was the worst book I've ever read, but I read _The Painted Bird_ by Jerzy Kozcinski, and that _was_ the worst book I've ever read.")

--Daniel Pinkwater

Amanda said...

Wow! A visit from an author! Thanks for stopping by our little blog, Mr. Pinkwater. The cool thing is, I mentioned aloud that you'd stopped by, and one of my sons immediately commented that you'd written the werewolf club series, which is another of my sons' favorites. :D

Julie said...

This does sound interesting. I like way the characters sound in this book - I can relate with being obsessed with food. I'm going to put this on my to be read list too.

Grégoire said...

Holy Moly!!!

D. Manus Pinkwater? Is that you John Wayne? Is this me?

I read your Alan Mendelsohn book and have *never* forgotten it. One of the high points of childhood and the thing that started me reading.

Last night I ordered it used. I'll be reviewing it in a couple of weeks.

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