Book Review: Bad Monkeys

Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! I finished this book in two days. That should say everything! But I guess I should say more than that, so I will.

Bad Monkeys is not a book I would have picked up in the library and brought home for myself. Someone else would have to pick it for me. In fact, that is exactly what happened. I arrived home from work one afternoon to find the book sitting on my bed.

“I saw that and thought you’d like it,” said G.

I looked at the cover. It wasn’t pretty, or intriguing, or special in any way. It was plain and quite boring looking. “Oh, thanks.”

I didn’t intend to give the book another thought, except to put it in the “Return to the Library Pile” at the end of the week. However, G is always thinking of me and I never show gratitude by even reading the book cover. This time I thought I’d at least do that.

Hmm, not bad, I thought. OK, I’ve got five minutes. I’ll read the first chapter or, at the very least, the first page. Then I can tell him I attempted to read it but got bored.

Two hours later my eyes left the pages of the book and I was surprised to find that I had read over 100 pages. I went to do some things around the house. Whilst my hands did the washing and the vacuuming, my mind was still thinking about the story. I couldn’t get it out of my head. Why? The author planted a seed that needed watering. He answered questions but kept filling my mind with more issues that I needed answers too. I was obsessed and needed to return to the book.

So I did. Several times over the two days it took me to read the book. I lost sleep over it too. I’m not particularly happy about that, but doesn’t it tell you how hooked I was? It does me.

So what is the book about? I can’t tell you! You’ll have to get a copy and read it for yourself. You are, however, guaranteed twists and turns that make you giddy. You will love the characters, they are so real. The words will play with your mind so that you won’t know what is true and what is real for that matter. And the author has a nice sense of humour too, which makes for an even more enjoyable read.

The library classified this as a detective story. OK, it is in a small way, but slotting this story into one genre is hard unless there’s a genre that covers science fiction, mystery, humour, fantasy and a touch of … weird.

Do yourself a favour. Read the book.

The next book I’m going to attempt is another book that I would never have picked up at the library myself. This book was listed in a Top 20 Books “considered the best of all time” – compiled by David Meadows. The book is called A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.