Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Read: "Tomato Red" by Daniel Woodrell

Read: Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell, 1998, 9781935415060 (2010 reprint).

Standard Woodrell goodness with Ozarks white trash poorly muddling through life. I had some interesting things to write about this novel but I forgot them. Maybe I'll recall along the way.

Sammy lands in West Table, MO. Sammy burgles a house and meets a couple other, teenaged, burglars, Jamalee and Jason, who would like him to be the violent muscle they think they need. Sammy figures, "Hell no" but loses his job, is evicted and tracks them down.

You see, Sammy needs friends. He is a messed up dude with a past he won't discuss and a pathological need to have food nearby when he sleeps. Sammy falls in with Jam's plan to escape nowhere Missouri by capitalizing on 17-year-old Jason's amazing male beauty. Jam's plan is to head to Palm Beach and pimp Jason off as a rich woman's boy toy. They want Sammy along as muscle for blackmail. Jason has a little trouble carrying through with this because as a gay kid he has no clue of how to go about such activity.

Sammy lives with Jam and Jason. Sammy bones their mom, who lives next door and works as a whore. Jam's plans are not turning out. Jam does not like her mother. Sammy drinks lots of beer. Jam applies for a job at a golf course. Jam is escorted out after blowing her (dyed red) top. Golf club parking lot fight starts and Sammy gets involved. Humiliation all around. Sammy, et al tear up the golf course during a thunderstorm. Jason is missing. Jason is dead in a pond. Family and Sammy do not believe it is accidental. Sammy, et al are powerless to convince the authorities otherwise. Things end badly for Sammy.

1. Megan Abbott wrote the foreword to this reprint. I like Abbott but I skipped the foreword.
2. You know things will end badly because Sammy, the narrator, says so. Reading about them stumbling around in clueless attempts to investigate Jason's death is a little painful because you know they will get nowhere.
3. I forget what else.

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