4/5 Goodreads stars
This book was heralded as one of the best books of 2015 so far, and I can definitely see why. A Goodreads reviewer described it like this: “…a faux-academic text/true crime account, replete with footnotes, about the disappearance of a fictional pop star, that takes numerous detours into various ideas, conspiracies, and subplots.” This is the best way I can describe it without giving away too many spoilers, which unfortunately for me, were embedded in the actual description of this book. If you’re at all interested in this book, read what you see here and avoid reading much else – it’ll make the ending that much more incredible.
- Things I loved: The Chicago setting was breath-taking. One of the characters works at the Rainbo, which is a bar I am lovingly acquainted with, and she and her partner also live in Humboldt Park and Ukrainian Village – neighborhoods I know extremely well. They visit awesome places like Old Town Aquarium and the Violet Hour, and it is seriously cool. I loved how real the made up portions of this book seemed and how fake the real portions felt. It messed with my mind in the best way possible, and I found myself Googling constantly out of immense curiosity.
- Things I have questions about: There were multiple levels of framing this narrative that I think I like, but it made following the narrative that much more confusing (but I think in a good way). Also, the book devolves in many parts into long, drawn out tangents about an obscure social movement that eventually ends up being essential to the plot and pays off. In the moment, it doesn’t feel like it though. You are constantly back-tracking to previous events, which again, if you are tolerant of non-linear narratives, this might not be a huge problem. Lastly, the footnotes. Like I hinted at in a previous post, these can become tiresome quickly and might not make this book for everyone. I found some to be irritating, but it contributed to the atmosphere and the voice of this book so effectively that I can forgive them. Below, you can see how it made the absurdness of this book seem authentic somehow with links to fake interviews and websites that just seem so real.
- Bottom line: Pick this up if you like mysteries, Chicago settings, and want to try something new. There was definitely nothing I hated about this, and there were certainly things that left me feeling awed.
*Please note I will be calling what some might argue are reviews on my blog REACTIONS instead – this is for several reasons. To begin with, I find “reviews” to be fraught with feelings I later change or am concerned with. I stumble upon at least half of my Goodreads star reviews and feel very differently about these books months or even years later. Therefore, my REACTIONS catalogue what I’m feeling right this moment and are subject to change at any time. Lastly, there are smarter people than me who write reviews of these books, and you should read those if you want “professional” thoughts that are usually more timely. Don’t get me started on the fact that I haven’t read this yet.