Title: Barking Up the Wrong Geek
Author: Lauren Wolpert
Publisher: Waltzing Gorillas
Format: Kindle and Paperback
Pages: 196 pages
Last Update: August, 2021
Synopsis: Bart didn’t mind staying in his reasonably priced motel room, even if the previous guest put a gun to their head. Barking Up the Wrong Geek takes readers on a safari through the suburbs, via the backdoor of a sideshow. An uncomfortable look at middle-class America, from birth to death, where the struggle to achieve the American dream all too often becomes entertainment for those blissfully unaware of how often struggle is part of the equation…and the entertainer is all too often caught up in and worn out by playing the part. Prepare for an arduous yet rewarding adventure, take a deep breath, and be transfixed, moved and intrigued by sordid survival of what is called life and love. In a tale compared to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, this satirical romp through an altered reality will take you back to a time that never existed, on a dark and surreal journey that is more worthwhile experience than entertainment. Meet Mayor Bart Barker, Lester, Lestim and a host of the most extraordinary ordinary people you’ll never come across. All a shard of mirror taped together to view the reflection of the fractured, fratiled self.
There are creatures that exist – thrive, even – in the darkest recesses of the Earth. Some sea life can survive at the bottom of the ocean in total darkness. To be sure, the evolutionary adaptations of such creatures to our eyes may appear bizarre and decidedly unattractive. Grotesque. But in their sheer existence they each can still exhibit a fragile beauty, nonetheless. And sometimes, to our surprise we discover a creature that despite its environs is truly beautiful in unexpected and spectacular ways.
Likewise, the characters found in Lauren Wolpert’s Barking up the Wrong Geek have adapted and evolved in order to survive. Their world is certainly dark and terrifying but this debut novel is neither a thriller nor horror story.
Wolpert‘s unique (and, at times, disturbing) perspective is a gift. Their well crafted characters are never taken at face value but rather are exposed layer upon layer so that the reader may gradually see this gathering of odd folk with a degree of compassion and a hint of understanding, even if simultaneously being repulsed by them. With dark humor and unflinching honesty Wolpert has created a space unlike any other. Their storytelling is wry, twisted, insightful, wise-cracking, and always observant. At times enthralling, at times uncomfortable, Barking up the Wrong Geek is a magnificent journey among the damaged and ignored who, despite all obstacles, somehow continue on.
While in modern society physical beauty and attractiveness are frequently mistaken for virtue, strength and power, even Darwin might agree that for those living in darkness, there may be no real benefit derived by being beautiful. Who knows what passes for “beautiful” in such conditions? I suspect that Wolpert has a deeper understanding than most and Barking up the Wrong Geek is their first (and hopefully not last) effort to help the rest of us understand true beauty.
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Be sure to visit Lauren Wolpert’s website to find out more: https://laurenwolpert.com