Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Book Review | Fender Lizards by Joe R. Lansdale

Fender Lizards is a coming of age novel from Joe R. Lansdale.

Fender Lizards by Joe R. Lansdale

The unmistakable accent of the Piney Woods of East Texas rolls from the pages of Fender Lizards, Joe R. Lansdale’s tale of the life and love and work of one Dot Sherman, who delivers on her promise that her story is “the real thing from beginning to end.”

Dot waitresses on roller skates at the Dairy Bob, doesn’t care for smoking at least partly on account of her dad having never returned from a cigarette run, and carries on the family tradition of philosophizing. Life hasn’t done her any favors in her seventeen years so far. But if there was ever a heroine built for turning things upside down and seeing what shakes out, it’s Dot. Determined to find out who she is and why she’s the way she is, an opportunity presents itself when her heretofore-unknown uncle suddenly moves his camper into the front yard.

As in his classic novels The Bottoms and The Magic Wagon, multiple-award-winning Lansdale instills place with character and character with place. Here is an overlooked world and a cast of real folks that prove unforgettable, all rendered in one of American fiction’s most authentic voices.

Fender Lizards is the story of how Dot came to be in the roller derby.

Reading about roller derby is like reading about quidditch in Harry Potter or stopping in the middle of Twilight for a long game of baseball. It's not an exciting time. (Is it taboo to make references to Twilight? Sorry.) Some of you will know what I mean.

I'm from Southeast Texas so Lansdale automatically puts me at home. I can hear and feel East Texas in his writing. This is a big plus for me.

I loved the characters in Fender Lizards. Dot was definitely the heart of the story. Fender Lizards was much more about Dot and her family than it was about her joining the roller derby, but that aspect bored me so I'm harping on it.

Overall, Fender Lizards was a decent read. I didn't love it. I felt like I wanted more to be happening. It was easy to put down, and it took longer than it should have for me to finish it. I didn't dislike it, either, though. It reinforced the fact that I need to be reading a lot more Lansdale outside of my Hap and Leonard binges.

5/10: Decent Read

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9 comments:

  1. Hmm, hadn't heard of this but I will skip for now. I prefer Lansdale when he's gritty and apologetically insulting to everyone :)

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    1. I think you would enjoy Dot's character, but there are probably other Lansdale books that could be read instead for now.

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  2. Interesting observation about HP and Twilight. I'd be interested if I cared about Roller Derby but I'd still not like it to take over the story.

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    1. I went into it not knowing anything about the story so yeah... it all kind of dissolved into roller derby.

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  3. Is Fender Lizard a roller derby reference? I guess I know nothing about roller derby at all.

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    1. Fender Lizards is the name of their roller derby team. :/ I'm making this book sound terrible. Haha. I don't know much about roller derby either.

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  4. I need to read a Lansdale book but I'll be sure not to start with this one. I like the cover though and have to admit to watching some roller derby from time to time. We even had a recent neighbor who plays on a league in our town.

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    1. Watching roller derby is fine! I like sports, I just don't find it exciting to read about in my fiction. It's not thrilling for me. I don't know. A girl I used to work with is on a roller derby team.

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  5. hahaha The baseball/Twilight reference. It's true though... it was a bit of a weird thing to include. Been wanting to decide on a Lansdale to finally read but I'll be sure to not make this the first at least. :)

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