Flushboy by Stephen Graham Jones

16057396I know. It’s a book called Flushboy and there’s a toilet on the cover. You pay close enough attention to me, by which I clearly mean, give me a passing social media glance, and you’d think that I was sponsored by bodily functions; or at the very least, receptacles of said waste. Really though, if you let your eyes drift downward, you’ll clearly see in pee-yellow that the author of this fine book is none other than Stephen Graham Jones. So, what do you have to say for your assumptions now, smartypants?

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that the toilet, the clever yellow fonts, and the title wouldn’t have me gaze at the book a little longer than most. If I were ever able to find a bookstore cool enough to carry Jones’s books, I might even flip through the pages a bit. However, what sold the book, and what should sell you this too, is Jones. It is nearly impossible to keep up with his output, as it is well documented that he probably isn’t human with the rate which he’s published. So, let’s not beat that horse. And let’s cut the crap and talk about this book.

Combine the charm of those summer coming of age flicks, with being crammed inside a drive-thru facility that collects your urine, utilizing the whimsy of a fast food restaurant and scrap from an automated car wash. Our hero, inside one unbelievable day, suffers the woes of teenage life. All of them. His girlfriend disappears with some strange dude, there’s a mystery engaging our hero that involves the local sports mascot, his parents are on the the verge of divorce, and he gets paid to take people’s pee. That’s a lot to weigh on a kid’s mind, especially in one day.

Stephen Graham Jones uses his abilities best here. Slashes of conversation punctuate the action, framing the plot, such that the story moves along – the story lives and breathes, making all of this easy to swallow. Part of you wants to stop and disbelieve, but there is no time, because if you stop to ponder, you’re going to fall behind. You’re going to miss something and then you’ll be lost forever. Flushboy is a fun read, easy and short enough to be digested in one sitting. What it lacks in surprising impact, it more than makes up for with that comfortable familiarity of something you would read or watch dozens of times, because you can relate. You get Flushboy and Flushboy gets you.

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