Poking the Bizarro Sloth with Steve Lowe (#bookreview)

Remember that spam email you received promising to share millions of dollars if you'd just share your bank account with the spouse of some crooked African dictator? How about the one where some 'gorgeous' Russian girl with a vocabulary south of the bimbo mark begs you for the pleasure of calling her 900 number? Or what about the one threatening absolute catastrophe if you don't immediately forward the message to 20 of your closest friends? If you've ever had even a passing thought of opening one of those ticking e-bombs, Steve Lowe has a word of caution for you:

"Why you are sloth? Because fuck you is why! HAHAHAHAHA!!1!"

It is with that pithy, English-as-a-third-language, taunt that everything begins going wrong for the reader - because, as the title suggests, YOU are the protagonist. Magically transformed into an honest-to-gosh sloth, complete with yellow claws, a furry back, and an extraordinary long tongue, you're left to play everything from cute wingman, to furry target of gay men's affections, to vengeance-seeking superhero. This is one rude, crude, and lewd adventure, filled with ridiculous toilet humor, the worst kind of gay stereotypes, and a rather piss-poor opinion of humanity. It's also wildly imaginative, very funny, and even pithy and insightful, provided you can allow yourself to see through the Bizarro spectacle.

Lowe is definitely one of the more accessible authors of the genre, somebody who gives as much attention to telling a story as to exploring the surreal. His narrative is simple and free-flowing, without playing any sort of literary tricks to confuse or amuse. In addition, his characters actually have a personality, and develop through the course of the story. His story is deliberately offensive in many ways, but as a caricature or over-the-top parody, never as a mean-spirited attack. There are some Bizarro titles I skim through for scenes that catch my eye, and others that I read cover-to-cover . . . Lowe is definitely one of the latter, and a gentleman I need to read more of.

Published July 1st 2013 by Eraserhead Press
Paperback, 150 pages