Sunday, July 27, 2014

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

What greater gift could you offer your children than an inherent ability to earn a living just by being themselves?
First impression

In case that you haven't read the synopsis of this book and like me, you approached it thinking that the geek part was referring to the "intellectual" geek, let me tell you now. It is not. Geek love is a wonderful book, full of weirdness and sadness and family amongst other stuff, but the geeks in here are what would also be considered as freaks, circus freaks to be exact. The story, told by Olympia Binewski, jumps from past to present, from her own thought to interviewer's notes to show us how she came to be who she is at present and how she was pushed to do whatever she did and will do for love.

Final thoughts

Siamese twins, a hunchback albino dwarf, a boy with no limbs and another boy with an extraordinary mind. Those are the Binewski siblings. For them, being geeks is what makes them unique and none of them would ever want to be a "norm". Some of them love each other but they all love at least one of the others and it is through this love that the story gains its force.

One think that was interesting for me, was that I was reading this book at the same time that I was reading Dawn, by Octavia E. Butler. So during the day I would listen to Dawn and question what makes us human, and then at night I would come to read Geek Love and question what makes us normal and what is so great about it. While maybe not in such extreme as the Binewski family, maybe we shouldn't all want to just be "normal"; having something making us special should always be considered an asset and not a defect.

This book was unexpected in so many ways .Not only I was not expecting this type of geeks; I was not expecting such an intricate relationships or origins for the characters. There was not a single twist that I found predictable and I was actually taken by surprise with a lot of the events, more and more as I advanced in the book.

I wish I would've read something else by the author so I could know if this type of grotesque or extravagant characters is something she uses a lot, or were they just for this book. Because the thing is while you could just concentrate in the physical part of the characters is this as a package for the deep complexity portrayed in their psyche that is so enticing in this book. Most of the characters in this book, even the "norms" are so heavily constructed that even the ones that only appear for a couple of pages remain in my brain even now that I have finished the book.

I can only recommend this book for people who enjoy complex out of the box characters and stories.
[...] because a true freak cannot be made. A true freak must be born.

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