Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Book Review: Fake Fruit Factory by Patrick Wensink

The best way to sum up Fake Fruit Factory by Patrick Wensink is that it is ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Ludacris, even. And that’s a good thing. It’s the story of the Ohio town, Dyson, which is fighting for its survival against the decline and decay that has happened to small towns through America over the last fifty years. Lead by Mayor Bo Rutili, (the fourth youngest mayor in America we are told multiple times), Dyson and its impassioned citizens hatch a plan to revive their sagging town, only to learn that NASA is expecting a falling satellite to crash land into Dyson, obliterating the “speck of pepper” from the map.


Desperate times call for desperate actions and Dyson’s citizens are desperate to save their town. The Mayor’s girlfriend, Marci, often ignored by the Mayor himself, dreams of the most famous person in Dyson’s history, who ran the Fake Fruit Factory. Her sister, the failed actress, desperate to escape Dyson, clinging to anyone who smells like they might be famous. The former big city DJ, Cody Kellogg, Mr. Razzle Dazzle, now stuck at a small station in Dyson where no one can hear him. The police chief, a former opera star, desperate to win back the love of his former opera partner and ex-wife. The proprietor of the local tavern, who keeps his shit list tattooed on his hand. the former basketball star, still stung by the death of his wife fifteen years ago, on his own crusade to save the town’s history. The current owner of the factory, intend on having a parade. The rich lottery winner, Donna Queen, intend on saving the town by force if she has to, but lost for the right words and the right actions, who opens a casino. The former Mayor, Old Man Packwicz, down on his luck after missing out on the lottery prize and ousted from office, who tries multiple times to end his own life. The town’s only attorney, who thinks he is smarter than the rest of the town but lives in fear that his wife is going to leave him. The government agent, Eggelston, who seems to turn up everywhere. The First Lady, who seems to be a roulette junkie and who also loves a good mudslide. Throw in a map to a long lost treasure for these people to hunt down. Oh, and a mummy who drops off gifts to the citizens of Dyson, including foie gras and opera music.  There are a lot of characters.

These characters all have feelings and wants and needs and things from their past they cannot escape. Although they try, they can’t to do the right thing to help each other or Dyson. Even though they keeping making the same mistakes, by the end of the book, you’ll be rooting for them to succeed.

So yes, this book is ridiculous. It’s also hilarious. Wensink words made me laugh out loud. When you think things can’t take another turn for the worse, or the more ridiculous, they do. And how does it end for the citizens of Dyson? Who is the hero? Who saves the town? Does anyone outside of Dyson itself even care? Well, that I can’t tell you.
Fake Fruit Factory
by Patrick Wensink
Curbside Splendor
350 Pages
Publication Date: Sept, 2015

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