4 Stars - Strongly Recommended
Taste is a funny thing. My taste in novels, for those of you who may not know, tends to run a bit left of centre. I prefer burying myself nose-deep in bizarro, drug-induced, run-on sentenced, experimental fiction. Or inhaling amazing "fly so low under the radar that there is no radar low enough to fly under" indie fiction. Very rarely do I indulge in what I like to call straight-laced, main stream "your mom could totally read this book" fiction.
And yet, when I do indulge in it, more often than not, I find myself thoroughly enjoying it. Of course, it certainly helps when said main stream fiction contains some one of the most dysfunctional cast of characters I have read about in a long, long time.
You've heard of escapism fiction, yes? Books that are marketed as "beach reads" that require no thinking whatsoever and promise to magically whisk you away from your stressful, hectic, crazy life?
Well, Jessica Anya Blau's novel is the complete opposite! Drinking Closer to Home is the type of book you read when you want to escape your boring hum-drum life to be magically whisked into a world where everyone is having affairs, and is addicted to drugs, sex, and drinking. Where your grandparents humiliate you by showing off your soiled underwear, inviting their friends to check out your "tits" and announcing that you are so dumb you had to attend dummy school. Or a world where your parents grow pot in the backyard, and treat your sisters bouts of bulimia and anorexia like they were passing fads. Where your stay at home mother announces that she quits being a mom and teaches you how to care for your siblings, cook, clean, and do laundry. Or where everyone around you appears to have a "Stinky" (family nickname for the people your family members are having an affair with), while your husband has left you for a stinky of his own.
It's the story of going home again and all of the unexpected baggage that brings. It's about coming together as a family and accepting one another, when everything you've put behind you is attempting to bubble back up to the surface.
Doesn't sound like your typical straight-laced, main stream fiction novel, now, does it?
I want to thank author Greg Olear for initially pointing this novel out to me, and to Jessica for reaching out to me and making a copy available for review. I promise that their kindness did not influence my positive review.
Take a peek at the book trailer for Drinking Closer to Home, which I posted on the blog yesterday. And be sure to grab yourself a copy the next time you hit the bookstore. If for nothing else, do it for the dysfunction!