Friday, January 10, 2014
Book Review: Romance For Delinquents
4 Stars - Strongly recommended to fans of shorties full of oddball, yet utterly familiar characters
Publisher: Fox Head Books
Releases: January 2014
Love is for suckers. Or at least it sometimes feels that way, don't it? We've all fallen for the new, naive love that births a billion butterflies in our chest. But what about when it becomes an angry and unreciprocated love, the kind that forces those fluttery little creatures down, one by one, into your stomach, where they churn and dissolve in your acidic emotions? Or how about the curious, borderline obsessive love that clouds our senses and causes us to act in strange and sometimes dangerous ways. Watch out that it doesn't turn into a jealous love, one that, as we begin to rage and howl, darkens those clouds and blinds our vision.
In Michael Wayne Hampton's Romance for Delinquents, we are judge, jury, and witness to love in all of its extremes: A photography student who double prints nudie photos at the film shop for his scrapbook; a series of couples who deal with infertility in their own, unique ways; the guy who reluctantly takes his old lady's kids to the local carnival and manages to pull it together long enough for them to collectively make a run for it when all hell breaks loose; an overweight, under-motivated amusement park employee who constructs a fantasy world around his soon-to-be-Russian-mail-order-bride; a middle aged man who falls in love, sight unseen, with a 15 year old high school radio jockey and grows balls big enough to start writing her fan letters....
These are people you may have already met. They stand in line around you in the grocery store. They smile at your kids from across the street. They rub elbows with you at the company party.
Hampton's characters are all poised on the edge of something... through his words we can feel their every breath, sense their muscles tense and release... and we watch and wait... for their final plunge...
Romance for Delinquents is a sharp, severe look at a moment in the lives of strangers - quick peeks and longer glimpses that hang with you for some time after the stories are over.
I plan on picking up some more of Hampton's work in the very near future, and I recommend you do the same.
Anyway, how can you turn away from its totally hip cover? That alone should be all the enticement you need!