Bizarro Or What?

I’ve just read a fantastic — in both senses of the word — book by Leslie Lee. It’s called PACKAGED, and it’s at Smashwords. I think it’s $2.99, but Smashwords won’t load at this moment, so I can’t check. He gave me a coupon for a free copy, just so you know. Wait a minute: It’s also at Barnes and Noble. Yeah, it is $2.99.

Okay, cheapskate that I am, I would have had to struggle with myself to wrest $2.99 from my clutch to buy an eBook from somebody whose work I hadn’t read, even somebody I like. I would have been so wrong to pass this book up!

Some bits were not the kind of bits I look for in a book. I generally avoid sexuality in writing, because it’s usually done so poorly, with more emphasis on logistics and mechanics than honest sensation. This book doesn’t have that drawback. The bits with sexuality in them are deeply sensual and absolutely flow with the story.

I’m late posting today because I’ve been looking up the term “bizarro” to see if this story fits the category. As is appropriate with bizarro, I can’t tell. This article in The Guardian calls bizarro “stupid and intelligent at the same time.” PACKAGED isn’t stupid, though. Bizarro Central says, among other things, “Bizarro strives not only to be strange, but fascinating, thought-provoking, and, above all, fun to read.” If that’s the case, I’m going to call PACKAGED bizarro.

PACKAGED begins as an ordinary story, then gradually becomes more and more dreamlike. It follows dream logic — or, at least, the kind of logic my dreams follow. If you never dream you’re somebody else or more than one person, if you never dream you’re naked or wearing somebody else’s clothes, if your dreams never turn violent and then silly or both at once, if your dreams never repeat scenes or situations with your having diametrically opposite reactions from one iteration to the next, read this book and enjoy my dream life.

The astounding thing is how much sense this wacky thing makes. There’s actually a story arc. Two story arcs: what happens and Tory’s growth and development. A highly satisfying conclusion left me wanting to keep dreaming but ready to wake up.

Oh, and I have a major crush on Red Brick.

Meanwhile, I’m posting today at Fatal Foodies about our gutter garden.

WRITING PROMPT: What’s the weirdest yet coherent dream you’ve ever had?




I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Bizarro Or What?

  1. Leslie

    March 20, 2012 at 5:43pm

    Thanks a bunch for taking the time to read and review! Appreciate it!

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Sarah Reece

    March 28, 2012 at 5:38am

    Hey Marian,

    Unlike you, my dreams don’t follow any logic. I’ve had some craziest of dreams, from flying without wings to failing my exams to riding big horses and what not. There are some good ones also though, but sometimes they hardly make any sense. And I often like to forget these when I wake up in the morning.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      March 28, 2012 at 8:46am

      Oh, I LOVE the flying dream! That’s a great one!

      The failing exams or not being able to find the right classroom — that one stinks.

      Last night, I had the one where you’re trying to get across a bridge to get somewhere and it’s so crowded and the lanes lead every which way, and it’s hard to know what exit to take …. I not only had that one, I interpreted it WHILE I WAS ASLEEP! I said, “Oh, it’s THIS dream. This one is about the new publishing environment, with so many options and so much competition.” I mean, okay, everything is about writing for me, but WHILE I’M ASLEEP?!?!?


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