Along with occasionally posting reviews here and there of whatever books entice me to do so, I’m also going to be occasionally reviewing literary fiction written by independent authors. Why such a narrow focus? Well, because no one else that I know of is working to specifically highlight indie lit. fic.; some review blogs do cover these types of books, but they’re often mixed in with all the various romance and vampire thrillers and the like that pours out in waves on Amazon every day, so I want to try, in my own little way, to start building up the lit. fic. space and remind people that there are great books out there that don’t simply involve monsters killing people or monsters boinking people.
First up is Thrift, by Phil Church.
5 out of 5 stars
This is straight up modern satire, and I honestly can’t remember the last time a book made me laugh so hard. Church has created a flawed yet ultimately so relatable and loveable character in his hapless, nameless teacher that despite the ridiculousness of the situations he finds himself in, you can’t help but get sucked in to the madness.
As with any satire, there is social commentary going on here as, despite the Herculean efforts the teacher goes through to get himself into and then out of trouble, everyone else – from the students, to the parents, to the locals at the pub, to the school administration – is just as hopeless, though naïvely so, as opposed to ‘sociopathic’ as the teacher labels himself near the end. Yes, everyone’s dumber than they would be in real life, but the point is that they’re only slightly dumber, only slightly unbelievable, so that you can actually point your finger at them and say ‘OMG, that’s exactly like (insert name here).’ I have a friend who’s a high school teacher, and from the horror stories she tells of a principal she used to have, she would’ve gladly traded that one for the one in this book. Sometimes truth is stranger is fiction.
Ultimately, the point is that they all enable each other in their mediocrity, which, if you pay attention to social trends, really isn’t that far from what goes on in some offices and workplaces everywhere, every day. While you may cringe at the overwhelming density of everyone involved, it’s all the more hilarious because of the seeds of truth within.
And I do mean hilarious. Recommended.