Muscle Memory by Steve Lowe – 5 stars

book reviews

Muscle MemoryMuscle Memory by Steve Lowe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t prepared for the ending. It was like a slap in the face at the close of a pleasant conversation. But that’s all life is, anyway. Isn’t it?

Quick plot break down: A bunch of people wake up in the wrong bodies. The protagonist and his wife are switched; the neighbor and his sheep are switched. Everyone’s baffled. But no one more so than Billy, who, after waking up in his wife’s lactating body, finds that she poisoned him the night before. Tina’s dead, trapped in Billy’s body.

Is that some serious existentialist shit or what?

What Billy is put through is absurd and cruel. Not only does he have to respond to biological urges he doesn’t understand, he also has to come to terms with the fact that his wife offed him. Billy’s not the most hyper-aware guy on the planet, but he’s getting hit with a rush of reality at a head-spinning rate. It quickly becomes apparent to him what is important in his life and how it all fits together- only it’s too late. You can’t bring back the dead. You don’t get a do-over.

Oh, shit. I’m depressing myself here. My problem, I guess, was that I could really identify with Billy. There were somethings he said and did that were just textbook Caris. It was painful seeing those things laid out in front of me, perfectly fitting pieces to a puzzle of absurdity. But that’s helpful, right? Just because Billy’s fucked doesn’t mean I have to be, too.

Ick. On to the funny bits. There are a lot of funny bits. In fact, this book made me laugh more in its whopping 57 pages than any other book I’ve read in recent memory. Or extended memory, for that matter. The set up and delivery of each situation was done beautifully and made for an extremely satisfying experience.

My favorite part was near the beginning. Billy (in Tina’s body), his pal Tucker (in Julia’s body), and Edgar (in his sheep’s body) all go down to the neighborhood bar to see the extent of the body switching damage. While there, they learn a great deal about the nocturnal habits of their buddies. Where the bar would usually be filled with grown men, it’s now filled with women- including a couple of teenage girls. What I enjoyed the most was how surprised and impressed the guys were with some of their peers. And when the body switches meant certain death (by the hand of spouse or teenage girl’s father) for the fellas. I can’t possibly articulate it, but it was fucking hilarious.

Steve Lowe is the shit. I am looking forward to reading his other book Wolves Dressed as Men as soon as humanly possible.

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