Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

geek love

This is a very unique story that tackles some controversial and, in my opinion, pretty unpleasant topics. I read it for a book club, otherwise I would not have picked it up based on the title (which I still do not fully understand).

Dunn certainly has quite an imagination. This is the story of a family of purposefully engineered circus freaks. The parents deliberately use drugs and other methods to affect their children in utero in order to produce humans unique and interesting enough to attract paying visitors to their circus. Some work out better than others, and the ones that do not survive are stored in jars and travel around with them, and the ones that turn out just too normal will be left somewhere in the hope that another family may raise this disappointingly regular child.

The story follows the family across the US and back again as the children grow up. They pick up various crazy people on the way. They get shot at by other crazy people. They experience typical sibling rivalry with atypical results. The family falls apart and the story ends with the remaining family members going on with their lives in the relatively normal world.

This book was certainly unusual. I have never read a story at all like it. If you have a passion for the bizarre then this is for you. There was not a lot of dialogue and it took me quite a long time to read. I will not be seeking out other works by this writer. This was just too horrific for my taste.

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