Thursday, November 4, 2010

Review - The Psycho Ex Game: A Novel by Merrill Markoe & Andy Prieboy

Summary (via Goodreads)--Lisa Roberty is a successful screenwriter with an impoverished social life who’s enduring a demoralizing job at the mind-numbing sitcom You Go, Girl. Grant Repka is an obscure indie rock musician who, in his forties, finds his career surprisingly resurrected with the success of his comic operetta about the doomed romance of Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson. When Grant and Lisa meet after one of his shows, sparks don’t immediately fly—but e-mail addresses are exchanged. A my-book-for-your-CD trade and a couple of e-mails later, Lisa tells Grant that she enjoys his song “My Psycho Ex,” but warns him that where psycho-exes are concerned, she’s pretty sure she “could drink him under the table.”

Little does she know that this will become the opening salvo in an epic e-mail battle dubbed the Psycho Ex Game, a storytelling competition in which horrific tales of dysfunctional love and living with lunatics are volleyed with glee. The rules are simple; the point system, unique: the experiences that would normally leave someone running for the therapist’s office (humiliation, degradation, and complicity in psychotic behavior) just might win match point in the Psycho Ex Game. Now it’s Grant vs. Lisa as the wretched tales of his ex, the Junkie Queen of Darkness, vie with the woe inflicted by her ex, a tantrum-throwing actor/director widely known as Mr. Summer Box Office Record-Holder.

As the correspondence evolves, it surprises Lisa by offering her the kind of intimacy she has never shared with a man in the same room. Before long, what started as a friendly competition becomes a road map to an unlikely couple’s growing involvement, leaving both Grant and Lisa secretly wondering, “If we were to get involved, which one of us is potentially the next Psycho Ex?”

Review: I came across this book by accident. It called my name while I walked around the Strand. "Janelle", it said, "Pick me up. I'm bitter. I'm cynical. You're bitter. You're cynical. We are a MATCH." 

I walked away from it. Who wants to admit they're bitter and cynical? Not me. So I walked around the bookstore trying to find happy, uplifting, fairy tale novels. Books that spoke of true loves and happily ever afters. Nothing caught my eye so I turned to leave and, as I did, the stupid book caught my eye and laughed at me from the shelf. 

*sigh* FINE. So I picked it up.

This story about two victims of 'psycho exes' could easily have turned into a whiny novel about who was wronged more. There's nothing worse than reading about reading sob story after sob story. Instead, however, this a cool, snarky tale about past experience and how you learn from it (or try to). Lisa and Grant's exes are SCARY. They're the type that make you grateful for your own ex. We're talking about narcissistic, emotionally abusive junkies. Each story boggles the mind and makes you wonder "Are there people like this out there FOR REAL??". 

Markoe and Prieboy don't make Lisa and Grant victims, though, and that's what makes this story. They're just as dysfunctional as their exes, in some form or fashion. Why they are the way they are is only hinted at, which I appreciated because sometimes you don't need all of the exposition...sometimes people just are. It's as simple as that. 

The story starts off slow (about 20 pages slow. Oy.) but once it gets moving, you're hooked. Each installment of the game is like a train HAVE to pay attention. It's the fodder in between each installment that drags it down somewhat. There are unnecessary characters, side stories, blah, blah, blah. I wish the writers had focused on the game and the thoughts of Grant and Lisa alone. The rest became slightly annoying. 

Would I recommend this book? Not necessarily. Still, I got something from it. I can now say, "Well, so-and-so will never be as crazy as THAT."

LitSnit Grade: C

No comments:

Post a Comment