Saturday, June 9, 2012

Review # 181: Beauty Tips for the Dead - A Novel by Gerald Medenwald

Description: (from GoodReads)
     "Beauty Tips for the Dead" is about two young guys, David and Jonathan, who are marketing executives in an advertizing company. They want badly to become product placement specialists. Before work, after work, at lunch, and during coffee breaks they develop multiple uncensored marketing plans that display their creative talents. They believe these schemes will inevitably bring them fame and riches beyond comprehension. But they never actually get the chance to implement their ideas. Then, David gets fired. With time on his hands he develops a master plan for a grand festival – a marketer's dream. He searches for the catalyst, the trigger that will blow this little weekend outing into an earth shaking event. The festival combines two historical events which, frankly, should never be joined. 
     "Beauty Tips" is equally about Mary and Jane, two young professional women: one is a nurse and the other is a writer/musician/mortician's assistant. They are both quirky - one is almost a saint and the other is a bit dark. As children they were as close as sisters, but a confounding event sent them in dramatically different directions. Years later, when they each become disillusioned with their jobs and lives, they both decide to make a new start. Bringing an assortment of life's baggage with them, they meet again in grad school. Just when they get started with their new life plans, they meet David and get caught up in his precarious plan. 
      "Beauty Tips" is about friendship and betrayal and curveballs. Life is unpredictable. The book is about choices and how one's very worst moment may lead to the very best consequences - or not. When life gives you lemons, you can make lemonade; or you can slice it, squeeze it, and squirt the juice back in life's eye.


     Just when I thought I had read it all, I came upon Beauty Tips for the Dead by Gerald Medenwald, a strangely quirky, fast-paced, and remarkably random read. The first couple of chapters were plain weird, but once I got into the whole of the novel... they just got weirder. There were so many characters to keep track of, and some of them came out of nowhere, their idiosyncrasies ranging from slapstick to serious. The same was true for the dialogue, most of the humor snuck up on me, but some of the dialogue seemed completely bizarre, making me question whether or not there was a point at all. This does not mean that the characters and dialogue were not well-developed, just unconventional and sometimes unrealistic. Fortunately, the overall plot-line manged to tie all of the odd-ends together into a pretty hilarious genre-salad. My favorite characters were Mary and Jane, their opposite personalities were quite interesting, adding some much needed background the the story. This was definitely a unique and fun read, even the most tense moments were laughable. I will definitely read future books by this author! Recommended to adult readers of the amusingly unorthodox.

Rating: Bounty's Out (3.5/5)

*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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