|The Heart Does Not Grow Back
"Graduation was supposed to go something like this:
Mack and me on the stage, waiting our turn to snag diplomas."
EVERY SUPERHERO NEEDS TO START SOMEWHERE...
Dale Sampson is used to being a nonperson at his small-town Midwestern high school, picking up the scraps of his charismatic lothario of a best friend, Mack. He comforts himself with the certainty that his stellar academic record and brains will bring him the adulation that has evaded him in high school. But when an unthinkable catastrophe tears away the one girl he ever had a chance with, his life takes a bizarre turn as he discovers an inexplicable power: He can regenerate his organs and limbs.
When a chance encounter brings him face to face with a girl from his past, he decides that he must use his gift to save her from a violent husband and dismal future. His quest takes him to the glitz and greed of Hollywood, and into the crosshairs of shadowy forces bent on using and abusing his gift. Can Dale use his power to redeem himself and those he loves, or will the one thing that finally makes him special be his demise? The Heart Does Not Grow Back is a darkly comic, starkly original take on the superhero tale, introducing an exceptional new literary voice in Fred Venturini.
I was very excited to get the opportunity to read this book ahead of publication, however, it took me a little past that date. But hey, I'm still in the right month! Funny things is, this book was put on my radar through Netgalley (a little bit contemporary fantasy but leaned more to the dark comedy side), and I was sold. So what did I find funny? When we went to NYC to see Chuck Palahniuk, guess who was the guest Author opening? Yep. Unfortunately the tickets for the event were WAY over sold and we got stuck staring at a pillar, listening to people blow into these glow stick balloons. NOPE. We got out of there fast, none of us wanted to spend a night like that. As upsetting as this event turned out to be, before we left... I did here Chuck endorse this Author and this book, which gave me the added umph to pick it up and finish it, which I'm so glad I did.
I didn't absolutely LOVE this book but I did like it, quite a bit. The story is very original, something I value in an Author, which gives hope for those that think all stories have already been done. No! You just haven't looked in the right area! The Heart Does Not Grow back is about this regular 'joe-shmoe' who happens to gain the power to regenerate his organs. This falls in line with a superhero story, right? Yeah, this book doesn't entirely follow that line... it veers off into a darker place, a place that some may say combines the ugly with the comical, dark comedy anyone? I do love me some of that. Try taking this regenerating 'joe-shmoe' and put him on TV for everyone to witness his magical abilities, make it a reality show! You can see what I'm talking about now, right?
So what makes this only three and a half stars? How the story turns out, and NO... I'm not going to spill anything, I just didn't love the ending. However, I have found an Author to be on the lookout for, one to watch. He has the skills and the imagination to entertain me over and over again and I'll very much be looking forward to that. As with all my reviews of books that use strong language, violence, or graphic descriptions... this is your warning! It has most of that stuff, and I loved every bit of it. As cliche as this might be, if you like Palahniuk, you'll enjoy Venturini too.
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