How did I get it: I bought myself a copy.
Why did I read it: I recently attended a Bizarro authors reading, and after hearing an excerpt, I really wanted to see what happened to Norman, Zoe, Smitty, and everyone else. Plus the walrus ex-boyfriend sounded hilarious. And the cover art is really awesome.
(Note: After much debate and considering the approach of other blogs I follow, I’m changing my Review format slightly. Moving forward, my rating will be at the end rather than the beginning. I definitely feel that a rating is a neccesary component of a review, but that it isn’t the most important one.)
Norman Spooter awakens one morning to find that his eyeballs have fallen in love with each other. They proceed to tear themselves out of his head, steal his car keys, and take off for parts unknown…So he does what any of us would probably do in that situation… he goes back to bed, hoping it’ll all resolve itself. Unfortunately, in the middle of the night, a pack of WOLVES moves in. The worst thing is, they’re party wolves… BUT they gave him a security deposit, so he decides he’s going out to get his eyeballs back.
He joins forces on his epic quest with a woman named Zoe, who has a mysterious secret almost as crazy as Norman’s Party Wolves. Besides, she needs him too… She’s on the run from her psychopathic ex-boyfriend, who happens to be a dangerous sociopath, a classic car enthusiast and, worst of all, a fully grown walrus.
Review: I am not really the world’s biggest fan of the short novel because if I like something, I tend to want it to go on and on forever. However, I think there are situations where short makes sense. In this case, Rose’s first published work is probably right around the size it needed to be since a lot of it reminded me of a Tex Avery cartoon.
I was sold on the sequence of events and throughily pleased to spend time with Rose’s characters as they embark on a very strange roadtrip. Norman and Zoe were fun. Aspects of the walrus ex-boyfriend were a bit on the nasty side, Zoe’s secret seemed a bit obvious, and I would not want to visit the Motel Sick, but it all served the story well. And most of that was vastly overshadowed by how much I enjoyed the party wolves.
I’m also impressed that the characters and their actions were typically backed up by motivations that made their own brand of sense. Norman’s eyeballs fall in love. Clearly they need to run away from their human oppressor. Norman has empty eye sockets. Clearly party wolves move in. And so on and so forth. Each time, I found myself nodding my head sagely. Yes, I thought to myself, of course. Eyeballs would totally get married if they could, and everyone knows party wolves live in your skull. Later on, I wondered just why this all made sense to me, but that’s true of just about anything I read. I doubt I was supposed to walk away from the book wishing I too had some party wolves of my very own? But I did.
What didn’t work so well for me were the parts of chapters that moved rapidly from one character to another with very little transition. Norman’s inability to see also resulted in a lot of paragraphs where I couldn’t quite figure out if Norman was accidentally seeing when his eyes were gone and no one had caught it during editing, if he could see through the party wolves all the time or only some of it, if he could only see through his runaway eyeballs, or if he was slowly turning into Daredevil. I know how odd it must seem to demand consistency when I’m totally okay with eyeballs in love, women dating creepy walruses, and party wolves moving furniture into someone’s head… but I’m weird like that.
In conclusion, a whacky fun time. Party Wolves in my Skull might not appeal to all readers, but it certainly provided me with several hearty laughs and a unique story.
How I would rate it: 3 out of 5 stars.