Review: Practical Jean

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Practical JeanPractical Jean by Trevor Cole
Published by Harper Perennial on October 11, 2011
Genres: Horror, Humor, Mystery
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Jean Vale Horemarsh is an ordinary, small-town woman with the usual challenges of middle age. She's content, mostly, with the life she's built: a semi-successful career as a ceramics artist, a close collection of women friends (if you ignore the terrible falling out she had with Cheryl all those years ago), a comfortable marriage with a kind if otherwise unextraordinary man. And then Jean sees her mother go through the final devastating months of cancer, and realizes that her fondest wish is to protect her dearest friends from the indignities of aging and illness. That's when she decides to kill them... 

This eagerly awaited new novel from Trevor Cole combines the humour and sharp observations of contemporary life that he is known for with an irresistibly twisted premise, for fans of the quirkily macabre Six Feet Under and Dexter, and readers of Paul Quarrington, Miriam Toews, Jonathan Franzen, and, of course, Trevor Cole.

In his first two, GG-shortlisted novels, Trevor Cole proved himself a master of drawing us into the shadowy side of human nature with sharp observation and warm wit.

For fans of black comedy, this novel is just about perfect. Of course, black comedy doesn’t appeal to everyone; certainly, it did not appeal to me when I was younger. Now, however, I find that I quite enjoy dark humor. Basically, if you find the description to be amusing and want to read more, then you’ll quite enjoy the book.

Jean, of course, is crazy. What else could one possibly expect of someone stuck with the last name of ‘Horemarsh?’ Cole does a great job of making her brand of craziness believable. He sets up that this idea and her hardness is not coming from nowhere. Her past enables her to do what most people, even those who agreed with her that it would be a mercy killing, would never be able to do.

The cast of characters is lively and quirky, each one providing elements of humor. Here’s a sample of the kind of dark humor you can expect: one of her friends betrays her, and as punishment, she does not have the honor of being killed. As I said, dark humor. If you think that’s awesome, do yourself a favor and read this!

P.S. Before you start thinking Jean was onto something, please let me recommend instead Natalie’s (one of Jean’s friends) brand of friendship: “What says ‘love’ like a chocolate cupcake?”

 

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