Not too long ago, I read a book entitled Woke Up in a Strange Place by Eric Arvin and I loved it so much that I simply had to check out this author’s other work. I decided to start with SubSurdity: Vignettes from Jasper Lane and what a hoot!
Jasper Lane appears to be a typical middle-class neighborhood complete with manicured lawns and manicured wives. However, once we go behind the scenes and meet the residents of Jasper Lane, we quickly discover that Jasper Lane is anything but typical. We meet all sorts of zany and complicated characters:
- Religious fanatic Melinda Gold and her “flatulent” mother (who is even more of a religious kook than Melinda)
- Melinda’s son Patrick who is suffocating from his mother’s oppressive rules religious views – and starts working for neighbor Cassie Bloom
- Cassie Bloom who throws porn parties to which the entire neighborhood is invited to attend and who may or may not have murdered her husband (and buried him in the back yard)
- Vera, a transexual club owner
- The sexy UPS man who ran into an issue with his Prince Albert and another man’s lip ring
- Rick Cooper – a one-eyed gay man who has the hots for an ex-army neighbor, James
- James, who really needs to come out of the closet
- Rick’s gay roomates David and Terrance
- Cliff, David’s muscled-by-steroids boyfriend who is also a porn star
- Terrance, a somewhat effeminate gay man who discovers that he has a 17-year old son – and his son wants to meet him
- Sandy and Steve Jones who at at first glance, appear to be the most “normal” couple on the block….but not for long.
- And of course gayhound, the gay dog
I can’t begin to describe how much fun this zany book was. I laughed out loud many, many times while reading and ended up absorbing all 200 pages in one sitting – I simply could not put it down.
While the characters and the situations portrayed in the book are hilarously over-the-top, this quirky novel does make a biting commentary about the crazy suburbinization of our society as well as how extreme beliefs can alienate you from others.
This talented author not only pens a fantastic tale, he does so with wit, style and elegance. The novel reminded me a tad of Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” series with perhaps a bit of influence from Desperate Housewives. My only disappointment with this book was that it eventually came to an end. Luckily for me, I learned that there is a sequel!
Recommended – I give this book 5 zany, romping stars out of 5!!