Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross

Mr. Peanut is, I believe, Adam Ross' first novel and it was a really good one! The main character is the institute of marriage, specifically the marriage of Alice and David Pepin. They met in a college seminar on Alfred Hitchcock and were married for 13 years. While David ostensibly loves Alice, he is also obssessed with her death and writes a novel describing how he would kill her. Then, one day, Alice is dead and David is the main suspect. The two detectives who investigate the case also have their own experiences with the institution of marriage - Detective Haskell's wife has become militantly bedridden although there is seemingly no reason for it and he reacts, sometimes meanly and sometimes explosively to that.  Detective Sam Sheppard was convicted and then exonerated of his wife's murder years before (yes, he's Dr. Shepard of The Fugitive fame). The plot then thickens when David is linked to a reknowned hit man known only as Mobious.  I don't want to say too much more because I may end  up giving something away.

I absolutely dveoured this novel - as much as a full time working outside the home mother can devour a book. It was wonderfully dark, complex and unflinching of its portrayal of the dark sides of marriage and how spouses can treat each other.  The novel is told mostly from the husband's point of view, so don't expect to get any insight into the female psyche. In spite of that, I was drawn in. I think that the reason that it took me a week to devour this book was that it was so complex and sometimes took some decoding. I sometimes had to re-read portions to remember what happened and to make sure that I was clear on what happened, but I was more than happy to do that because Ross' style of writing is meaty and rich and I could lose myself in it.

Ross is unflinchingly honest. He doesn't sugarcoat marriage and its difficulties.  At one point, he states that the middle of marriage is often the hardest portion and I think that this is something that may resound with many married couples.  I completely appreciated the honesty. 

It was very rewarding to read this book and must be an addition to your home library.

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