'Me and Mr. Cigar: A Novel'
By: Gibby Haynes - Soho Teen, $18.99)
Description: From the wild and wonderful mind of Gibby Haynes — world famous Butthole Surfers front man/lyricist and self-proclaimed eternal Texan adolescent — comes the surreal tale of seventeen-year-old Oscar Lester and his trusted dog, Mr. Cigar.
Verdict: Oscar and his dog have made a pretty good life for themselves, despite the fact that Oscar’s family has all but vanished — his father is dead; his mother has a new boyfriend. His older sister, Rachel, fled five years ago ... right after Mr. Cigar bit off her hand!
Despite the freak accident, Oscar knows his dog is no menace. Mr. Cigar is a loyal protector: a supernatural creature that can exact revenge, communicate telepathically, and manipulate car doors and windows with ease.
So, when Rachel — now twenty-two and an artist living in New York — calls out of the blue and claims she’s being held hostage, Oscar sees an opportunity to make things right between them.
He races north, intent on both saving Rachel and fleeing the mysterious evil forces targeting his dog. And it’s only by embarking on this dual quest that Oscar starts to untangle his own life and understand the bizarre reality of Mr. Cigar.
The book opens with a piece written by Gibby first hand that explains how the power of being read to at night by his father held sway with him as he grew older. How books like Pecos Bill and even Charlotte's Web were instrumental in instigating curiosity for the written word within him.
Gibby also talks about his theory that when a person is born they are given three dogs. The first one shows that you have to live and die. The second one teaches you how to cope with it. And the third one comforts you. As he himself puts it, "It's a three dog life and Mr. Cigar is definitely number one."
In a book with chapter titles such as The Battle of the Locusts, The Lion-Trainer Dudes That Got Creedled, The Peanut, The Chicken and The Thundercloud, White Sport Coat / Pink Crustacean, and both A Carrot from the Wheelchair Guy and both The Chocolate Chainsaw and The Girl with the Drug-selling Eyes, amongst a plethora of other fancy titles, not one of them is long, but all of them are powerfully invigorating; one way or another.
Reading it, the first thing that it does is transport you, via a lyrical first-person style, into Gibby's created world. Without muss or fuss, you are quickly there, following alongside the adventures, never questioning where you now are, what extraordinary thing has just happened, or why you are still reading it!
I guess in the real world, if these words were put to music you would call it psychedelic prog rock, but here on the pages of Gibby's debut book it's safe to say that his stories come across lathered in magical wonderment.
One in which you have one foot firmly on the ground while the other is magically freefalling upward toward the skies at a steady pace!
Inclusive of unadulterated delves into Gibby's own upbringing in Texas and those awkward teen years we all go through, his ability to seamlessly meld swashes of distinctive reality that we can all acknowledge with complete and colorful bouts of surrealism, whilst still allowing a base line of joyous heartbeats to reverberate throughout, makes 'Me & Mr. Cigar' a God's honest delight of a read.
About The Author: Gibby Haynes is a musician, visual artist, writer, and filmmaker best known as a founding member of the Butthole Surfers, whose outrageous concerts spawned a global cult following and whose albums have sold millions worldwide. He lives in Brooklyn with his family. 'Me & Mr. Cigar' is his first novel.
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