As a resident awesome person at Lemuria, you may have noticed my absence. Or maybe (probably) you haven’t. Whatever the case may be, I have not been fired or expelled from this earth. I have been at ARMY, specifically, Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport Louisiana. For the past six weeks, I have been working my way through days and days of classroom and flight line learning in pursuit of becoming more versed and comfortable in my job. I have learned one thing above all else: All the walls are brown.
A military installation is a void of creativity. All the streets are clean. All the people smile. All the cars stop for pedestrians. All the grocery carts are returned, and seriously all the walls are brown.
It (t)was the summer of 2007 and I was waist deep in mud, and self-delusion. I was going to be an American Airman, and I was going to save lives. Two weeks into basic training, after the uniform, mess hall, and haircut became intertwined with my being, I noticed something off about everything. I was being yelled at like I’m sure you’ve seen in the movies, but everyone was dialing it in. It was their job to yell at me and tell me I was worthless, etc. There was something behind all that repetition and monotony and I knew they felt what I felt. Boredom.
There I was again bored, but it was different from basic training. I was bored because I was choosing to be bored. I was reading about hyper realistic self-aware characters that were just as bored as I was. Ask yourself how many bad decisions have you made to end up wherever it is you are. I was in Shreveport Louisiana surrounded by buildings that made everything look like someone placed the Early Bird Instagram filter over my eyes. I needed something strange and daring: something not afraid to hurt anyone’s feelings. I needed something weird. (see what I did there?)
The Weirdness by Jeremy Bushnell is pretty weird. I know that sounds redundant and just plain unhelpful but honestly that’s the best way I can describe the book. Yes, it is smart and funny and expertly paced but it is weird. The book follows an aspiring writer and actual sandwich maker, Billy Ridgeway. He’s your typical Brooklyn, NY artistic dweller chalked full of potential (he thinks) waiting on his chance to prove everyone (actually everyone) wrong. After one of his worst days in recent memory, he wakes up to a very well dressed, well-spoken gentlemen in his living room. What this man offers him is a chance. Now, if any of you haven’t seen the EXCELLENT Ghost Rider starring Nicholas Cage go and do that now, because this book is basically the sequel. Go do that now and come back.
Okay so you know not to make deals with the devil now right? Well ole Billy boy didn’t. What follows is a story written for people like me. People that are just bored with the “To be expected.” Billy is a character that surprises, not because he’s a hero or a fiction staple, but because he is legitimately his own person. A person that exists in a world rather than a character used as a device to further a plot or an **cough cough** agenda. This book is the classic pick me up. Jeremy Bushnell has woven together a great urban fantasy that kept me until the last page. This is an excellent first novel that deserves some eyes and attention.
The Weirdness by Jeremy Bushnell is available now
Written by Andre