A drug trial participant blogs about his experiences on an experimental medication and questions whether the strangeness in his life is a side-effect or just weirdness as usual.
As a test subject in an experimental drug trial, Gomez Porter is asked to a keep a blog to chronicle any strange experiences, an exercise that quickly alerts him to just how many odd things seem to be happening around him. He soon finds himself wrapped up in a possible murder mystery, stalking a stalker for a woman he thinks he loves (though it might just be the drugs), while his life and the characters in it get ever more absurd—and increasingly dangerous. Parke’s debut novel melds screwball comedy, hipster-style irony and an old-fashioned unreliable narrator into a quirky whodunit that challenges our perceptions about how we think and interact with the world around us. The blog-style entries are unique, providing a firsthand view of events from Gomez’s perspective, a perspective that even the character himself actively joins the reader in doubting. When Gomez goes so far as to admit he edits his posts, we’re left to wonder what got cut, what he isn’t telling us and why, if he is cutting things, he still records his more embarrassing, frightening or unflattering moments. These layers of ambiguity, combined with the novel’s wit and some of its more subtle humor (often overshadowed by its bigger laughs), give the book the distinction of being a work most will want to revisit. The most notable shortcoming is the ending; it isn’t hugely satisfying, and the tone doesn’t fit with the rest of the book. But this is largely forgivable as the real charm of the novel is in the humor of its journey rather than its surprisingly solemn destination.
At times laugh-out-loud funny, occasionally just weird for the sake of weird, but consistently entertaining.