Tag Archives: wife

Bizzaro Book Review: Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross

Guys, you know that thing where you ask your wife, “What’s wrong honey?” and your wife says, “Nothing” but what she really means is, “You are in trouble, but I am not going to tell you why, so there“? This book is about that.

Yes. You heard me right. If you are a married man, this is the most terrifying book you will read. EVER.

Mr. Peanut is about marriage and murder, and the contempt bred by familiarity that bridges the gap between the two. The narrative follows three sets of marriages which are intertwined in such a way as to make them into a literal literary Möbius strip.

If that sounds confusing to you, then trust me, it is. Quentin Tarantino could learn a thing or two about non-linear storytelling from Adam Ross. The strange and twisted tales of three men and their wives overlap in ways that are not immediately apparent.

The story in a nutshell (heh heh) is this: David Peppin is accused of murdering his wife, and two detectives must sort through the dizzying threads of his story to determine whether he is really the killer.

But far from being a straightforward murder mystery, this story delves deep into the dark side of marriage, bringing to light the pain, joy, and ultimate boredom that can arise out of spending so many years of your life with the same person.

The greatest problem that this book faces is that it incredibly clever. This might seem like a strange thing to criticize, especially for the guy who absolutely adores House of Leaves, but the problem here is that the cleverness overtakes the flow of the story. The disjointed non-linear narrative is fine to a point, but when the book drops one narrative thread which had previously been the driving force of the book and jumps into another almost completely unrelated story for the space of more than a hundred pages, it’s somewhat disorienting and discouraging to the reader.  I understand that the jump was necessary to complete the books unique Möbius strip structure, but in my mind the novelty of that structure was not enough to justify the sacrifices made to the story’s forward momentum.

Having said that, this book is still a fantastic read, quite unlike anything else I’ve ever reviewed here before. In spite of its occasional failings it triumphs as a treatise on marriage, infidelity, love and redemption. If you’re looking for a book that will grab your mind and suck you into its twisted world, look no further. Adam Ross’s Mr. Peanut has got what you need.

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory

You know that thing people do when they get to the end of the year or they have a big anniversary or something, and they say, “Can you believe it’s been fifty years since we slayed the vacuum cleaner robot monster?”

I hate that.

Because seriously? Yes, I can believe it’s been however many years since whatever important event. I realize that it often seems like less time, but you know what? That’s because your brain is screwed up.

Don’t take offence, mine is screwed up too. It’s our memories really. They trick us. We think of them like snapshots or movies of the past, bits of information retained in our brains for years to come. But thing we fail to realize is this: we don’t remember what we don’t remember.

Those years that seem like they just flew by, that summer that was done before you knew it? Those times didn’t just zoom by like a speeding train. But you think they did. Because bits and pieces fall through the cracks. There are things that happened that you mind decided wasn’t worth saving, entire portions of your life that have simply been erased.

And I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m glad. Because on the whole, my life has been boring. Six years I’ve worked at Walmart. Six years. You know how many details of that banal existence are actually worth storing?

Answer: not very many.

But some things I do remember. I remember the day my wife came to work as a cashier. She wasn’t my wife at the time of course, she was just some cute girl with a nice smile. And I walked up to her and said, “Hi, my name is Al. I work back in the Sporting Goods department.” And then I paid for my drink and went and read a book or something.

And later when she was on her break she came back to Sporting Goods looking for me. She said, “I wasn’t sure if you were telling the truth or if that was just some kind of pickup line.”

And I said, “What the heck kind of pickup line is, ‘I sell guns at Walmart’?”

And then we got married.

And really if you think about it, it’s good that your mind doesn’t keep all the boring stuff. Because what that faulty memory is doing, what it’s really doing is making your life into a story. And sometimes it’s not even a true story.

As a storyteller myself I can respect that. It may seem like a horrible loss to be shed of all those moments of your life, moments you’ll never get to experience again, but in the end it comes down to simple editing. So while I don’t have to remember hours and hours of trivialities, I will always be able to reach back and touch that childhood moment when I had been out playing in the streets of my neighborhood, and the summer sun had finally gone down and the street lights were coming on, and in that moment I felt… unbelievably happy.

Moments like that are worth saving, stories like that are worth telling myself over and over again. So to my brain, I say, “Bravo, brain. Bravo.”

The Tenuous Connection

This is a conversation I had this morning with my wife.

Me:  You know what?  I like shaving cream.  It smells good, it’s all fluffy, and it makes me feel like the morning has truly begun.

Wife:  You know what else is like that?  Biscuits.

Me: …

Wife:  Well they are.