Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bad Karma - David Safier

I don't know about you, but I am a strong believer in Karma.  It is really the only way for me to be at peace with the presence of nasty people...I believe that their bad behavior will come back around to haunt them eventually.

Now do I believe that accumulating bad Karma or good Karma can assist in what form I will come back in a later life?  Nah, not really.  But it is a fun theory.  Imagining my 6th grade teacher coming back as a worm tickles me to no end!  She was a grumpy one, that Mrs. Edgerton.

So despite the piles and piles of books that I intended - NEEDED - to read, when I received this gift from Jackie, I dropped everything to read it.  Jackie's review was all I needed to read to convince me that this kind of fun was required during the chaos of the holidays.

Synopsis:  Kim Karlsen is not what you would call a model mother or wife or even human being.  She leaves the parenting to her stay-at-home husband while she works at her high-profile television career.  She rarely sees her daughter, she mistreats her employees, she cheats on her husband.  But whatever, she has just won a big award, and the world is her oyster!  Until a piece of debris from a Russian space station falls on her and kills her.  She realizes that because of her bad behavior, she has been reincarnated as an ant, and must redeem herself if she ever hopes to achieve the status of, let's say, a dog.

And she works at it.  She moves through the hierarchy of the animal kingdom, from ant, to worm, to guinea pig, to cat, to dog.  While she is busy earning good Karma points, and trying to better herself, she is able to spy on her grieving widower and daughter.  To her horror, she sees that her "best friend" is trying to take her place!  She also sees that her husband and child really did love her and miss her, despite her faults.  The problem is...it's too late.  Or is it?

My thoughts:  I was pleasantly surprised by this hilarious, clever and thoughtful debut novel.  I was also intrigued that the author is a man, but writing in first person from a woman's perspective.  A very bitchy, snarky, boob of a woman that you really can't like at first.  The humor is goofball...a little Stephanie Plum if you will...but for some reason really tickled my funny bone.  And there were moments of levity and reflection, as only one would imagine if you were coming back ala Scrooge to see how life goes on after your death.  

I also was entertained by the author's interpretation of what it's like to be an ant, a guinea pig, a dog.  I do love my animals, so it was pretty easy for me to go there...to snuggle up to mama or get a belly rub or have my ears scratched.    One thing is for sure - Safier is an animal guy.  (But I must mention that the dog in this book is a Beagle, and that is NOT a Beagle on the cover.  How hard is it to get it right?  Little things like that drive me crazy.)

According to Jackie, this author is a successful German screenwriter, and within his mother country, has found success with this book as well.  I found the translation to feel effortless, and would hope this book could get some traction here in the US.  If you want some fun reading with a little heft behind it, look no further.

4 out of 5 stars  
      

13 comments:

Jackie Bailey said...

I'm so pleased that you enjoyed this one - I was worried that the humor wouldn't translate properly. This is one of the only books that had me crying with laughter. I hope that your review persuades a few other people to give it a try. ...and yes - I agree about the beagle. Small details do matter.

Ti said...

What an interesting premise. Sounds wild!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

See I would want to read this in any event because of the adorable cover!

bermudaonion said...

I would have totally dismissed this book but you've made it sound very appealing to me. I'll have to look for it.

JoAnn said...

This sounds like fun. The great dane(?) on the cover is way cuter than a beagle, but still....

Julie P. said...

Sounds like a hoot! And the cover is hilarious!

Melissa said...

I need fun these days and will look for this one!

Zibilee said...

This is just what I need right now. It sounds like it's a lot of fun, but also makes you think. I don't think I would like to be reincarnated as an ant, and you mention that Safier is not an animal person, so this book intrigues me even further. Very interesting choice. It would probably make a great read for me.

Kathleen said...

This one sounds really fun. I'll definitely add it to my list.

caite said...

The beagle/cover issue would drive me nuts.....

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Jeane said...

This looks great. I think I'd really enjoy it. Have to say, the misrepresented dog breed on the cover would really bug me, too!