It starts to rain. It crescendos. We’re halfway around the field. I don’t want to run. I’ll fall over if I try. I’ll fall over and I won’t want to stand up and I’ll lie in the grass and sad dogs will eat my body. Maybe I should do that. It might be fun. -Etgar, Lolito
I was browsing at the public library one day and happened upon a book entitled Lolito. Having never heard of the author before, I pulled it off the shelf because I liked the font on the spine. I was treated to a boy dressed up in a panda suit on the front cover and immediately, I was hooked. Next to the panda boy is a quote by Nick Cave:
“Lolito is the funniest most horrible book I’ve read in years. I was blown away.”
Well, Nick Cave, clearly, this book was meant for me to read.
Etgar Allison is our young protagonist. He is a fifteen year old left home with only his dog, Amundsen, on Easter holiday, while his parents head to Russia for a wedding. When it is discovered that his girlfriend got drunk and cheated on him, he falls into a haze of anxiety, depression, loneliness and alcohol. Lots of alcohol. It is about this time that he meets Macy in an adult chat room and they strike up a strange internet relationship. Here is where the story takes a turn for the interesting. Before this point, Etgar is floating aimlessly, avoiding his friends as much as possible and consuming copious amounts of alcohol. He spends his time with his dog, Amundsen, who might be one of my favorite characters in the book. Amundsen may not speak, but he is ever present drooling and pooping and needing walks, putting his head on Etgar’s lap when he needs a friend, eating tripe and vomiting. Macy is a lonely older woman, and they connect in a way Etgar feels he needs as he struggles to put his ex girlfriend Alice’s infidelity behind him.
Macy takes it further when she says she will be in London, where she thinks Etgar is, and there they meet for a very adult time. They share three days, filled with strange interactions and even stranger events, and connect enough to share the truth of their lives. However, as all good things in life can’t last, so does their time come to an end.
This book as amazing, and I am in love with the prose. Ben Brooks is an extremely talented writer who has the most amazing ability to put his words together and make you feel things. I wouldn’t recommend this book to the faint of heart, much like I wouldn’t a Chuck Palahniuk book. However, if references to snuff films, strange internet porn and bestiality are not going to drive you away, pick this book up. Go.