Doing Things In a Family Way
By Jim Musgrave
CreateSpace, $9.95, 154 pages
Exploring the world of the late 1960s can be a great experience. Buddy Hartman lives through Freak Story: 1967-1969, exploring the life and times of the Sixties Revolution. He is looking for just two things: his mother, who happens to be a conjoined twin who starred in the movie “Freaks”, and a way to make it rich. He believes that the best path to both is through meeting his mother and exploiting her. Along the way he meets some of the greatest heroes of the 1960s, and uses those connections to start a life.
Although this is a fine book, it feels like there is something missing. The various personalities are portrayed fine, as are the events themselves. However, some anachronistic moments, such as a mention of REM sleep versus deep sleep, and a prophetic LSD dream at the end that describes the future in chilling detail, take the reader out of the book. Buddy himself has some interesting relationship issues, such as filming his mother for potential blackmail material, as well as a personality that he escapes into occasionally to allow him to do some things that he normally wouldn’t. That there feels like something is missing given that there is everything, including a kitchen sink or two, somewhere in the book gives it a weird feel.
That said there are a number of redeeming features. The theme that we are all freaks on some level is handled well and developed rather nicely. The cast is very genial, even allowing for some interesting character issues, such the lascivious dwarf and Buddy’s need for money. If a few characters and some extraneous details had been weeded out and the plot built up a little bit more, this would have been a great book. Otherwise, this is quick entertainment for someone looking for an afternoon read.
Reviewed by Jamais Jochim