Publication Date: November 15, 2013
Pettie Grumbles has turned her back on the Secret Services division of the Post Office. When her former superior, Tellmemydoom, asks her to return to Canada to investigate The Weatherman, it’s an assignment Pettie simply cannot pass up. But who can Pettie trust? Investigating The Weatherman may shine a light on Pettie’s own love, Hector, twin brother of The Weatherman. Is it a chance worth taking?
The author, Karen Faris, gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my review.
There’s a reason that authors like Douglas Adams and Jasper Fforde are popular. They take what we know, imbue it with absurdity, inject some wisdom and by the time we stop laughing we are given a new understanding of the depth of some really meaningful subject that we may not have thought about in a serious way before the day. A connection is made and a message is sent and all through the thoroughly clever means of satire. These stories act as a reminder not only that taking ourselves seriously is the root of all-evil and not taking things like climate change seriously could destroy us.
These are authors you either don’t care for or you hold in your heart and Karen Faris is an author that I will hold in my heart. [easyazon-link asin=”1936167913″ locale=”us”]Grumbles – Book One: Take a Pill[/easyazon-link] is not a perfect read. It’s more Fforde than Douglas in structure in a modern day setting that stays earthbound and takes us to a quite unique place. Faris takes us to a near future written in euphemism. Hector works at the “Cop Shop” and does “Cop Shop Missions” in the Corporate Woods. The world is an odd mish-mash of bad taste and convenient living through fear of reprisal.
The Weatherman rules all and even controls time and is living up to his campaign promises and keeping the world 72 and sunny. He’s gone to Canada to escape meteorological insurgents. Meteorological insurgents, legally licensed pirates and politicians who tell you that they steal from you so you can credit them with honesty is what the world has become.
So, yeah, this is that kind of book and it’s brilliant. Faris awkwardly starts and stops as she sets the scenes. Faris is able to pull the narrative together so that each plot point promotes a better understanding of the world in which Pettie Grumbles lives and of the character herself. When we meet her, Grumbles is living a comfortable life with her cop boyfriend and writing advice to the lovelorn. They’re not rich, but smart enough to realize that they’re fortunate. When Tellmemydoom comes back into Grumbles’ life, all she’s been missing falls into place. This is who she was meant to be and while she doesn’t know everything, she’s going to try her hardest to accomplish her goals with the aid of her “Girl’s MacGyver” spy guide. I love the drive and passion the author gave this character and the subtlety with which those characteristics are presented so that readers know that not even Grumbles knows the depth of her devotion to the cause.
Joining Grumbles as a sounding board and sometimes contrarian is the 10- or 11- year-old Toga. Their by-play throughout the piece is as entertaining as the off-kilter world in which they live. The message from Faris is that while this is the unlikely place we’ll go, this is the world ahead and we should dig beneath the humor and look at the message.[easyazon-link asin=”1936167913″ locale=”us”]Grumbles – Book One: Take a Pill[/easyazon-link] is a 128 page masterpiece. If you enjoy social satire this is the perfect novel for you. If you like Jasper Fforde, [easyazon-link asin=”1936167913″ locale=”us”]Grumbles – Book One: Take a Pill[/easyazon-link] is like a divinely placed cherry cordial in a box of nougat. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series to see where Faris takes her characters.