Archive for October 11th, 2011


Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

By David Whitehouse

The Short Take:

This is one strange yet highly compelling book. A man takes to his bed on his 25th birthday and thereafter his family revolves around caring for him. Told through the eyes of his younger brother, this tale unfolds beautifully. It is thoughtful, witty, and entirely mazing — a real winner.


You could call this a love story, but certainly not a traditional one. You could call it a commentary on the futility of modern lives, and that would not be wrong. You could say it points out the insanity of  media obsessions that invent celebrities. Or, you could just say this is one terrific book and be done with it.

When I picked it up, I didn’t know what to expect. And, at first I had some problems with the descriptions of Mal’s (the older brother) incredible obesity. They do have a certain “eww” factor. But with each page turned I was drawn irresistibly into this fictional family where love is shown in such unexpected — and not always understandable — ways.

It’s a slim book that packs a lot of power. I’m so glad I found it.

A Little Plot:

Mal has always done what he wants the way he wants. His younger brother both loves and hates him for this. Most of all, he envies Mal for winning the heart of Lou, the girl the younger brother adores.

When Mal takes permanently to his bed to avoid a typical gown up life, their mother waits on him hand and foot, their engineer father retreats to the attic to invent something that might make up for the guilt he carries, and the younger brother tries to figure out just where he fits in. If at all.

The tale moves between the present and past, tracing the boys’ growing up years as well as Mal’s final ¬†— and only — media interview and it’s aftermath. In the end, it all makes sense and has a certain aching symmetry.

For more about David Whitehouse and his first novel, click here.


    Want to be notified when there is a new post? Sign up to the RSS feeds below
  • Entries


October 2011
« Sep   Nov »