Book: Mostly Dead Things
Author: Kristen Arnett
Buy or Bye: Bye
I’ll admit, my initial reactions of Mostly Dead things was a resounding ‘eh.’ But, I let it brew for a couple days, to really understand how I felt about this book. It got up to an ‘okay.’
This book is also one of my book club reads, so after finishing it, I got to sit down with a group – and wine – and talk about what we each got from this book. Getting to talk through my thoughts and others thoughts did give me a new appreciation for the book. Any book that can be discussed for an hour deserves some recognition.
Plus, I forgot how valuable it is to sit and listen to others interpretations of the same words, there is always more to be found. There is no limit to the deepness of a book and we explored every layer.
To be fair, this book was beautifully written and the imagery was next level. I felt as if I was standing in the muggy July heat of central Florida, disgusting, I know. I could feel the mosquitos and gnats pricking at my skin and the ooey layer of sweat that doesn’t seem to let up until Thanksgiving.
If you want to feel as miserable as any central Floridian in the summer, this is your book.
As an avid animal lover, Kristen Arnett’s imagery skeeved me out when it came to the ‘Mostly Dead Things’ the taxidermied animals her and her dad would work on. I could see her rotating limbs to look just right and positioning the mouth to look life like.
As we’re going through the story of Jessa and her family coping with the sudden suicide of her father the one thing that resonates with me most is how each person in the family views the father completely different and feels differently about his life and passing.
Jessa views him as this amazing father, perfect fit, could never do wrong. Milo – the brother – views him as a distant father. The mother views him as this oppressive figure who made her give up her passion in life – art.
As Jessa and her mother are arguing about him, it hit me, no one is perfect to everyone, everyone views everyone in their own way.
To me, I viewed it as when people try to tell their exes new flame how terrible they are, but that may not be the case for them. Bad comparison but you get where I’m going with it.
But the mom broke down and shows that what the kids saw as great father growing up was her own personal prison. Everyone can see a dead person as a different person as what someone else sees.
It worried me, maybe I have been the bad guy in others lives. Before I go into a deep and emotional spiral, I’ll move on with the book.
It was interesting how they all coped with the fathers death and did it kinda in the exact way you would expect. None of the characters seemed truly deep or layered to me, they were on dimensional and while somewhat real, definitely not likeable.
What threw me was the immediate turn around. All of a sudden one day Jessa just decides to flip the switch and support her mother, something completely out of character.
I understand the need for character development, but it felt rushed and forced to me. I just could not get behind it.
Also, how does a struggling taxidermy shop manage to rent a whole other store front just for their mothers provocative art!?
Up until this moment, it was true to central Florida, the trailer parks, the gator infested lake, the old run down downtown contrasting with the newer strip mall. Central Florida.
Besides the extremely quick change of heart Jessa goes through, the book was enjoyable but forgettable. It didn’t draw me in. While reading it, I enjoyed it, but I didn’t miss it when I wasn’t reading it.
If you’re into the ‘wow, what a life changing moment’ stories, this is the story for you. I see how others could really like this story, just was not the one for me.
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