Before we get into what I think about the book let’s get the bare essentials out of the way, the book is called Our Frail Disorder Lives, it was written by Mary M. Schmidt and was released, according to Amazon, was self published by the author through Lulu Publishing Services on the 16 May 2018. Speaking of Amazon, the book is available for purchase there, so head over if you want to grab a copy for yourself. Okay I’ve given some of the basic information, now before I head on to talk about my experience with the book I’ll give you a brief synopsis, now on the face of it, this book reminded me of a book by Glen Duncan called I, Lucifer and I also suggest you check that out, after this one of course. Both books deal with heaven and hell, and the concept that maybe the divine and the unholy are far more mundane than you could ever suspect. It’s something they did really well in the TV show ‘Reaper’, which I also suggest you check out, but I’m going to stop pimping out other media and get on with talking about ‘Our Frail Disordered Lives’.
Our Frail Disordered Lives has a fairly wide cast of characters, I think my favourite character by far was Roach, you have to kind of admire someone who amounts to the low man on the totem pole in hell’s hierarchy, and he strikes out on his own to make something of himself. It’s a weirdly human notion for a demon, and you can really connect with the character because of it. I found that in comparison to the demons, some of the human characters seemed like bad people, I suppose when demons, the kind of personification of evil and impurity in our society aren’t all that bad, then the regular actual humans come across as worse because of it. But Larry and his wife especially aren’t great people, he sold his soul, and while she develops throughout the story she just isn’t a strong character, but the fact they are just kind of regular people kind of adds to the story, I mean Satan is like an actual fact in this story and kind of just a gross dude to boot and then we meet his minions and all sorts of other supernatural minutia but in amongst it all we have these just regular people. I’m not sure if you can call them characters, at least not fully rounded ones, but I also liked the cats, they in their typical feline way just don’t give a crap and will do whatever they want, including attacking actual hellspawn.
Also despite the fact some of the characters are as unlikable, it’s clear that they were intended to be that way, and all of their foibles on serve to bring the plot forward, for example if Larry wasn’t the man he was then he wouldn’t have sold his soul for a happier life, if he hadn’t done that then there’d be no Roach or Scorch and instead of this delightful little gem of a story we’d be treated to a grounded story of a couple who aren’t 100% happy with their lives or each other.
I think what I liked most is that it didn’t take itself too seriously, there was a wry humour throughout, Roach was a hopeless underling in much the same way as the minion of villains in 90’s cartoons Ala Bebop and Rocksteady from TMNT were incompetent, and largely ineffective but nonetheless people still kind of connect with the characters, I guess people like underdogs regardless of whether they are good or bad.
The core of the story itself works really well but the way certain character interacted and certain plot elements, without giving too much away felt a little out on sync or like they lacked direction, and I could have done with less characters, or more focus on the main ones, because while I felt the story had a satisfactory ending, and I super enjoyed the overall story, I did feel like at times it meandered towards the end, which considering it’s a quick read, could seem like an attempt to pad the story. But I don’t want to be overly critical because a lack of focus in parts is a small part of a book that I largely thought was very strong.
Anyway in conclusion their were rough parts, and I can’t say that it was perfect but it was easy to follow, enjoyable and presented a very unique narrative, so with that in mind I’m going to give it a 4/5.
First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org