Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Write On! Indie Book Reviews #2: Exhaust(ed)

If you've been reading this blog, you'll recognize Shoshanah Marohn as the talented artist who not only designed my current page header, but also the cover of my latest book, Mother of Darkness.
Of course, if you've been reading this blog then there is a 25% chance you are a human and not a spambot. If you are human, there is a 25% chance you are Shoshanah, so congratulations, you are not vain, this blog is totally about you.
Not content to simply be a successful artist, blogger, and farmer, Shoshanah has now added bestselling author to her accomplishments. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of her debut book, Exhaust(ed), which I am now going to talk about until you are convinced that your life has a book sized hole in it.

This size, to be exact.

The subtitle is The 99% true story of a bus trip gone wrong. I've been lucky in that I've only ever ridden the Greyhound bus line once and it was a short, uneventful trip. Not so for our poor narrator.

The story takes place in a magical time known as 1993 and our fearless heroine is on her way to grandmother's house, much like Little Red Riding Hood. But Red had it easy. She only had to travel a short distance through the woods and encountered only one predator. Shoshanah's journey begins in Colorado and ends in Western Pennsylvania (another magical place, but it is a magic we shall not speak of). And she meets more than one big bad wolf.

From the moment she buys her ticket, there is groping. Groping becomes a terrifying theme throughout the journey. Terrifying, that is, to Shoshanah. For us, the reader, it is both terrifying and hilarious. No, I don't mean we are a-holes who delight in the discomfort of others. It is Shoshanah herself who makes this funny. Did I mention this is a humor book?

It is, and it is full of one liners, sarcastic quips, and moments that will make you feel guilty about laughing at what had to have been a terrible time.

There's a host of supporting characters including a man who has been everywhere, a drunken groper, a dashing stranger who presents a what-if scenario, and a world wary military woman who imparts wisdom in the way only a stranger you will never meet again can.

The story itself is a short, engaging read, peppered through with artwork to illustrate some of the finer points. If this was all it had to offer, I would still say you need to read this book. But that isn't all it has to offer. What made this an A+, standout book for me is the same reason I've been following her blog for years: The writing is excellent. A perfect balance of insightful retrospection and off beat humor. This isn't a rose tinted trip down memory lane. No, this is a humorous approach to the idea that hindsight is 20/20.
The book is available in both print and Kindle e-book format from Amazon, however, if you are interested in purchasing the print version, consider buying it directly from the publisher, which gives the author a much better royalty.
Overall rating: five stars

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