This darkly offbeat novel opens with the narrator, Wallace Black, as the target of the school bully's violence. After suffering a horrendous beating, Black goes home to his equally abusive family. As a punishment for fighting at school, his mother straps a set of grotesque horns to the top of his head. He is unsure of where the horns came from. They have always been in the house. And they contain a power no one could have expected. Let Andersen Prunty (Zerostrata, Morning Is Dead, and The Beard) guide you through a sometimes hilarious, sometimes violent and terrifying coming-of-age Midwestern gothic novel.
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I listened to this book on Audible.com. Fuckness caught my eye while I was shopping for authors and books similar to David Wong and John Dies at the End. The description sounds very similar to Joe Hill's Horns, which I haven't read, though I have seen the movie, and I can assure you that the similarities stop at the word "horns". I had never read anything by Prunty before, but I did know that he is popular in the Bizarro circles.
Fuckness starts out pretty bleak, with absurdly awful characters and adolescent diatribes on how awful and pointless everything is, like John Waters meets Chuck Palahniuk at the Holden Caulfield Cafe, where they're served shitty coffee by a cigarette smoking, world-weary Judy Blum. It is entertaining, but there seem to be no redeeming characters, and even the protagonist, Wally, appears to be unsavory. There was a moment where I definitely wondered if I could make it through 200+ pages of this.
IF this is exactly the type of writing you thrive on, warning: the tone changes, the depth of the story broadens, and not everything is as it seems. If you hate this kind of writing, same warning.
This is an emotional book that takes the reader, and Wally, on a journey of self discovery, spending time on the nature of sadness and alienation, but also exploring kindness, joy, and acceptance. A recurring concept in the book, which I particularly enjoyed, is that of our identities being more defined by the kind person we strive to be than that of the person we have been, with our struggles and pain being heavily integrated in that development.
Please don't misunderstand: this book is fucked. If you want blood - you got it, in buckets. If you want drug use or sexually explicit material, there's that too. However, Fuckness is special because Andersen Prunty is as adept at introspective, realistic depiction of a young person's inner turmoil and confusion as he is with sex, violence, and general...well, fuckness. Check it out - this is worth your while.
first book ive read by Prunty, and i loved it right from the start, I finished it in a weekend. Jeff Bowers' narration is on point throughout the story, giving each character life and at a pace that holds the listener. the story is somewhat graphic and violent at times but not over done or redundant. there are several points along the story that have you question your own fuckness, what it all means and how or what you'll get out of it. great ending as well, it didn't fall short towards the end.