If you’re only interested in my review of this book, skip to the next paragraph. To those of you who hung around, consider this me waving at you. *waves* Yes, I’ve been away. I’m still not back in full force, but I’m eleven reviews in the hole (all the books I read while away from the interwebs) and I figured I’d knock out some before I disappear again during the week before and after Christmas. No worries, I’m not going to spam your feed with reviews today. I’ll be spacing these out so that I have a new review to post every week. Now on to the review…
Tony James, the main character of The Ecstatic, reminds me a lot of myself. He’s a fat dude who enjoys cheesy horror cinema. He’s not a hundred percent stable in the cranium. Neither is his grandmother, mother and little sister. In this regard, I loved LaValle’s novel. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this story before, only the cast was white.
I don’t know which came first, the chicken (The Ecstatic) or the egg (Little Miss Sunshine) and I can’t be bothered to check. But I saw that movie (which has nothing to do with this book) before I read this novel. Let me be clear. Little Miss Sunshine has nothing to do with LaValle’s book, but the plots are eerily similar. A three-generation family (grandparent, parent, child/children) go on a road trip so that the youngest can partake in a beauty pageant. Along the way, they lose a member of the family (in the movie someone dies, in this book someone skips out on the family). The twist of both stories is that the girls are ugly. The stories are different in subplots, but the main theme is the same. Instability breeds instability.
I liked this book. It was fun and engaging, but my enjoyment was lessened by having seen the storyline before. I do not believe either piece of media stole from the other. This is one of those rare occurrences where two separate pieces of media share an odd premise. That being said, I would recommend this to anyone who has not seen Little Miss Sunshine.
In summation: A good piece of writing that held my attention. Short enough to finish in a sitting.
Final Judgment: One of these things is just like the other.
(P.S. I missed you guys.)