Monday, May 16, 2016
Book Review: I'm From Electric Peak
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended, mostly because I have a pretty hard core author crush on Bud and fall in love with everything he ever writes ever
Publisher: Artistically Declined Press
Released: April 2016 (?)
When you fall in love, you're bound to do some stupid, fucked up shit. That's a fact, Jack. The love drug is a strong one and it messes with our minds something fierce. We start saying and doing things we don't mean. shit we never thought we'd do or say, all for the love of someone we suddenly cannot imagine being without. Though, before we met them two months ago, two weeks ago, fuck it, two DAYS ago, we were getting by just fine without them. It's amazing what love does to us.
None of us are immune. Hell, even I think about some of the weird crap I've done when I'd fallen in love and yeah, sure, I have a laugh at it now, but at the time, I was like a woman possessed. I've put myself out there and made myself available in ways I'd never thought I would. I've put up with shit I had sworn I would always walk away from. But when love hops into the driver's seat, it takes control of your emotions. It overrides your sense of reason. It lights fire to your guts and squeezes on your heart muscles so fucking hard and makes your entire being hum with crazy electricity.
And for a few of us, that love-drug-crazy-electrical-high fucks with our minds so goddamn much that we're actually seriously willing to kill anyone who might try to get in the way of it.
In his latest novella, Bud Smith does a frighteningly awesome job portraying the numbing desperation one suffers when in the grips of such a devastatingly naive love through his protagonist Kody - a teenage kid who breaks out of a home for troubled-youth and into his girlfriend's house - when he hears Tella's parents are about to ship her off to Italy in what he believes is an attempt to keep them apart.
The book's a gore fest from the start, with Kody climbing down from a water tower and interrupting spaghetti time by shooting Tella's parents, leaving them for dead at the dinner table as he grabs her and takes off for an impromptu tour of the country. Bud ushers us along at break neck speeds as the two of them lie, steal, and struggle to keep their love afloat under the shadow of what Kody's just done.
You gotta love Kody's chops. This kid shows no remorse. He's certain that he's done what's necessary and you get the feeling he's not the type to dwell too much on the past. Nor one to care much about consequences. But he's not stupid, either. Though he's all about living in the present, he's extremely sensitive to the situation they are in and keeps a close eye on Tella.
The only way for us to experience Tella is through Kody's eyes, which are sometimes clouded and unreliable. We know she keeps mentioning to him that she wishes he hadn't killed her mom but doesn't otherwise seem too worked up over the whole my-boyfriend-just-murdered-my-parents thing. It could be that Kody is just playing it down, or it could be that Tella's similarly numb. The two are in love and they're together, and well, they can do just about anything. Except, the longer they're on the road, the more they test each other within the claustrophobic limits of the car, and the more Kody begins to put them at risk with his crazy antics. As they continue their streak across the country in an attempt to stay ahead of the police, the trail of blood and gristle they leave behind them grows.
It's a toxic, twisted novel of impossible redemption. The writing is fierce, the dialogue is quirky, and Bud's foot never lets up off the gas.
(Side note: I jotted down some notes as I read the book, assuming that when I was ready to write the review I would remember what I meant by them, but for the life of me I cannot remember what I meant by this one:
bird, fish, zoo animals = free, caged, suicidal
any insight into my own weird insight would be greatly appreciated!)