You can’t read the first sentence in this book and not know that you’re in for a trip. The opening character, Billy Wayne Hooduk, leaves his morbidly obese mother and his timid life behind as he sets out to be God and start a happy cult of his own. After a traveling circus act goes horrifyingly wrong, Billy Wayne shoots a dangerous tiger, declares that he is God, and takes charge of the circus. If this doesn’t give you a taste of the delight in store, nothing else will.
I was enchanted by the sometimes distasteful but always likeable characters that populate this book. We spend time with cult-leader wannabe Billy Wayne, a broken journalist who is searching for his missing daughter, a gentle dancing bear who delights in delicious smells, and the traveling pesticide guy who unknowingly played an important role in Billy Wayne’s life. Each character manages to have their own unique voice without losing the continuity of the narration. The chapters are creative, interesting reads and I didn’t find my attention flagging. That’s always a good sign.
The writing itself was a joy. The winding narrative was sometimes a little difficult to wrap my eyes around, and at other times it was almost painfully beautiful. Either way that it ran, it was interesting and full of quirky whimsy. In fact, that’s how I would sum up this entire book. Quirky whimsy. Joyful heartbreak. A story of broken people who find a way to hold themselves and each other together.
I’d recommend it if you want a charming, bizarre tale with a satisfying, fate-driven ending. It reads a little like Christopher Moore but with more heart. If you are annoyed by flights of fancy, then you’ll want to stay away from The Bear In A Muddy Tutu. It’s fanciful, beautiful, and escapist to the core.
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