Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Kumquat by Jeff Strand

4 Stars
I started out this book with an unfair disadvantage. You see, I’m a sucker for road trips. Road trips in movies, road trips in books – I’m in, and I’m probably gonna like it at least a little bit.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a family road trip . . .

or a bachelor party road trip . . .

or an unlikely duo in a series of misadventures road trip . . .

or a fight for your life road trip . . .

or a dumb (and dumber, or is it dumber-er???) road trip . . .

(Are you all singing MOCK. (mock) ING. (ing) BIRD. (bird) now? Yes??? Ahhhh, my work here is done.)

Bottom line is I loooooooove road trip stories. Combine that with a romantic comedy and add the triple-whammy of the “main character might die at any given moment” plotline and it was on like bing-bong, Jack.

If you’re like me and saw this pop up on like EVERYONE’S feed a few weeks ago, but thought “I’m not really in the right frame of mind to read a story where one of the main characters croaks and then become a big ol’ boo-bag around my family for the next week” (like I did), well have no fear. I’m spoiling this part of the story and I don’t even care – the main character does not die. No, the end of Kumquat won’t leave you regretting the fact that you (yet again) failed to purchase stock in the Kleenex Corporation before starting a tearjerker. Kumquat is definitely not a tearjerker.

What it is instead is the most wonderful boy meets girl story and the adventures that transpire during their quest for one epic hot dog.

Okay, let me back it up to the beginning . . . You see Todd and Amy have an adorable meet-cute at a horrible film fest and, after getting to know each other a bit (mainly getting to know about how boring and predictable Todd’s life is and about Amy’s sooner-rather-than-later demise), the two decide to be spontaneous and road trip it (platonically, of course . . . or not?????) from Florida to Rhode Island for the best hot dog in the world.

Sidenote: Hot dog purists will probably want to flambé me for this, but I’m stating on the record that the best hot dog in the world is smothered in the greasiest chili known to man and is served at a little place called Dixon’s Coney Island in Galesburg, Illinois. (Those with weaker constitutions will probably suffer from diarrhea for a week after eating this concoction, but trust me when I say it’s totally worth it.)

Okay, back to the review:

Along the way, Amy and Todd receive a heaping dose of Murphy’s Law and everything possible goes wrong. From stolen cars to crazy hitchhikers to a possibly ruptured brain aneurysm to the consumption of a hot dog that may not be all it was cracked up to be, Kumquat is a ride you won’t soon forget.

Good gravy how I loved this book – so cute, so funny, so WRITTEN BY A HORROR NOVELIST????? Seriously, Jeff Strand writes horror . . . and the most charming little rom-com???? Still hard to wrap my brain around that one, but it’s proof that a good writer is good at writing. Period.

Recommended to: Anyone who wants to put a little love in their heart.

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