“John dies at the end” by David Wong

JohnDies

artemisiconThe review on the cover of the book by Fangoria says that this books is “a case of the author trying to depict actual soul-sucking lunacy, and succeeding with flying colours.”

They’re not wrong.

I was actually introduced to this book backwards. When I still worked at the book store, a book called “this book is full of spiders” came in, and since everyone knew of my fear of spiders, they thought it was hilarious. I read the back and decided I was going to read it (much to everyone’s shock) and that book was absolute insanity. It was immediately after that that I learned ‘This book is fill of spiders’, was a book two. It was actually the successor to a book called “John dies at the end”. Unfortunately, it was years later that I actually read the book. When I realized a movie had been made, I vowed that I WOULD read the book, and it was actually the co-writer of this blog who gave me the book!

Because I read them out of order I had a SLIGHT idea of what I was getting into. Slight. David Wong is one of those writers that you don’t see too often. He’s up there with Douglas Coupland, and some-what Christopher Moore. In that sarcastic narrator that kind of sounds like they took all the drugs before telling you the story. But David Wong takes what the other authors had established and dials it to 11.

The majority of the story is told by our main character David Wong, as he narrates what has happened to him to a reporter. David sees ghosts, and spirits, and any number of wacky things. And him and his friend John help others deal with strange occurrences.

The story is heavily influenced by a drug called “soy sauce” (which I learned of through ‘This book is full of spiders’ so I wasn’t too surprised with what it does), it’s not a drug in the conventional sense. On top of feeling high, it gives the person unpredictable supernatural abilities.

I don’t want to give away too much of the book, because in all honestly, what I tell you won’t make any sense. The book is a ride that needs 100% of your focus, so you don’t miss anything. Time travel, floating people, alien drugs, murder, ghosts, this book covers it all.

The movie that was done doesn’t even dip a toe into the insanity that is this book.

I love books that grab hold of you and don’t let you go, for whatever reason. And this book was one of those. Not for it’s dramatics or its love story, the way other books grab you, but for the sheer sake of “what the HELL did I just read!?”. It is incredibly fast paced and nearly impossible to predict. Even all the way to the very end it keeps throwing curve balls and fake-outs.

It is narrated by the character so the story is told from his point of view, which also includes what he is thinking at the time (even when his mind wanders). This is not an uncommon method of story telling, but Wong has so much going on in his head and an off sense of humor that it gives the familiar method an unfamiliar voice.

Most people probably won’t like this book. I’m not going to lie about that. It takes a weird sense of humor to get into these books. But they are amazing and unbelievably imaginative, and a shame not to read.

 

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