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Book Review: If You Lived Here You'd Already Be Home

I got If You Lived Here You'd Already Be Home

at the Twin Cites Book Festival for two reasons, it had an endorsement from Chuck Klosterman and the cover had stomach with random stuff in it.* Based on those two things I knew there would be something interesting in this book. Turns out it's a short story collection with story titles like Everyone Prank Calls the Clown, The Bog Body, and The Deadsitter. If you're not intrigued by any of those titles then there simply is no hope for you. The stories are mostly quick and quippy. The characters are most unlikeable, but relatable-- and the world they live in is our own, so when they get barnacles on their butts it's easy to believe. At times it is hysterical and other times pensive. Essentially these stories are the perfect balance of strange and realistic.

The story that sticks out in my mind the most is The Deadsitter. The premise is that a young boy died and his mother hires a boy who lives in her neighborhood to come to her house after school and pretend he is her son. Except the kid in this story isn't the first boy to do it, he's following in his brother's footsteps and he is getting a little old to play the part. His parents tell him he can't quit until he finds a replacement, and that is what he intends to do. Creepy, sad, bizarre, and kind of funny. I don't know why, but the image of a mother watching a child she knows is not her own but convinces herself is her child really resonated with me. I apologize for that confusing sentence.

That is just what John Jodzio's writing is like though (not confusing, the other thing). "Some forget that the sky is an easy option for violence, that the heavens can open upon you at a moment's notice. When it happens you'd like to think that God had something to do with it, that there is a plausible explanation, that if you looked up there would be someone there waving and yelling 'My fault!' (38)." This is a quotation from another of my favorite stories, Gravity, in which the main character finds dropping things on people's heads therapeutic. I had to stop and read this passage at least three times because it provided such great mental imagery and forced me to think about the humor of my own inevitable demise. So there you have it, Jodzio made me laugh about death.

*And the people who worked at Replacement Press were super nice and friendly.

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Book Review: If You Lived Here You'd Already Be Home + TIME