As a vegetarian, I have a strange relationship with fruit. It seems like the perfect food. It almost willingly drops from trees, resulting in the death or harm of nothing. Monkeys eat it. Hell, Eve ate it. Awesome in theory.
But I just don’t like it. There’s something about it that rubs me the wrong way. Occasionally, I’ll get the idea in my head that I’d very much like to eat a nice crisp apple or a perfectly ripe banana. But, even when I find these things at the right time, after one bite I know I’ve made a terrible, terrible mistake.
I went through a phase a couple of years ago where I decided I needed to eat more fruit. I was not convinced that my multivitamin was doing anything, so I was taking a handful every day to try to get all of the good things that I felt were avoiding my body to stay in there. But it didn’t seem to work. I choked the bastards down, but I couldn’t feel them in my bloodstream like I knew I would if I consumed the necessary nutrients from actual food sources. So I went to the farmer’s market and bought a fuck ton of fruit. I took it home and set to juicing.
This plan worked well for me until the first sip. It smelled nice. It got my hands all sticky. But it tasted wrong. The vital parts of the fruit are apparently in the pulp that was produced in the juicing process. So I ate a spoonful of that. It was like a mushy multivitamin. Like Jack the Pumpkin King trying to discover the secret of Christmas, I worked with my meager ingredients long into the night.
But, like poor Jack, I just couldn’t get it right.
But I’ve come to understand that it wasn’t my fault.
Fruits are fucking jacked up.
Not only do they drink the juice of one another, they form creepy little fruit mafias, making oodles of money in the underground face-trade. There are some more progressive fruits that intermarry with humans (read: fruit sex), but, as a whole, they’re a rather unsavory bunch.
Eric Hendrixson does a lot in this short book. When I started, I decided that forgetting the main characters were literally fruits would be necessary for me to get lost in the story. But, like any bizarro author worth his cliche, Hendrixson makes sure you know, all along, that you’re dealing with the strange. It’s the imposition of the usual turned unusual that is the hallmark of surrealism, and Hendrixson is a master of this skill of unlikely pairing.
The subtext says something about the way we eat. You’ve got fruits drinking fruit juice and eating doughnuts. You’ve got people coexisting with fruits, but still enjoying their inclusion in their doughnuts. You’ve got fruits torturing fruits with the equipment used for making doughnuts. Hendrixson is saying something, but I have no idea what the fuck it is. Perhaps commentary on our schizophrenic eating habits? Or maybe he’s just fucking with me.
Either way, if you’re a Michael Jackson fan, this is the book for you.