As you know, I bring books to Slogs Happy and give them away to Stranger readers, in the hopes that they will eventually send in book reviews for all of us to enjoy here on Slog. This time around, Baconcat has taken a look at The Book of Jokes by Momus, who is a popular musician. The book is all about people who live inside jokes. Any errors you may find in this book report are not Baconcat's fault; they are the fault of the editor. I am the editor.
So I picked up The Book of Jokes at Slog Happy last week and consumed it pretty quickly. I figured you would want some kind of report on how it was.
In short: Loves it.
The novel is very deliberate in pace and structure, which one should expect from a musician-cum-author (emphasis on "cum" in this case). The story behind The Book of Jokes is essentially chronologically formless; it bases itself around a hardly factual account of one boy's life in one chapter before lobbing a (mostly relevant) "autobiographical" reframing of a common joke in the next. Most of the jokes are crudely sexual, and all the jokes are familiar.
If I had to describe my own feelings about the book, I'd say it was hard to get into but hard to put down. At first it's not easy to get a grasp on what's going on with the surprisingly short chapters, so I spent a lot of time in the first couple of dozen pages trying to force down outright disgust with the jokes until I realized that Momus has clearly used the incredibly offensive and crude jokes to obscure the more "factual" aspects of the story. All the same, the confusion over what the hell is going on is a real motivator to get to the next page, enough to get the reader over fits of "did he really write that" and "that's pretty fucked up". The jokes lend themselves especially well to driving the story—it's hard to stop reading when you're ready to belt out the punchline, only to be dragged into an unfamiliar ending that all at once puzzles and intrigues.
All in all, The Book of Jokes is a nice quick read for those out there with more indelicate tastes, especially those who are familiar with a battery of dirty jokes.
I give this 4 slices of Baconcat out of 5.
Many thanks to Baconcat for the review. If you've taken a book from Slog Happy, you should send me your review.