BOOK REVIEW: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders 5/5 Stars!!

Scrappymags 3 word review: Weird. Compelling. (Best Keanu Reeves ala Ted Logan for this next word…) Whooooooaaa! 

Shortest summary. Ever. : Lincoln is distraught over the death of his son Willie. Let’s see what the ghosts in the cemetery have to say…

What’s good under the hood: This novel is deliciously weird. Abby-normal in every way that matters. Put away every historical fiction expectation, shelve your preconceived ideas of sentence structure, plot development and well, normal writing (in a great way!). Sit back and enjoy the ride. The book alternates between two writing styles: 1 – tidbits from actual books about Lincoln. Pro-Lincoln. Anti-Lincoln. Social Lincoln. Political Lincoln. Personal Lincoln. Impersonal Lincoln. 

2 – the ghosts. They relay the rest of the story and this is astonishingly odd and amazing. The ghosts are varied, some horrible, some kind, males, females, kids, weirdos, racists, slaves… a hodgepodge that you would find in any cemetery I suppose. And here I thought they were supposed to Rest In Peace? Um… no.

I would adore seeing this as a play and I agree with another reviewer who hopes the audio book is as amazing as the voices in this book. With the right talent, the audio book could be akin to a theater experience. Though Lincoln didn’t have much luck when it comes to theaters…

I had to hang on until about 1/4 of the book until everything truly clicked. Hang in there. Don’t abandon too early. It WILL start to make sense. But it will drive you a bit mad at first. Then it becomes so good…

What’s bad or made me mad: You MUST be in the mood for this type of book. It’s not casual “let me just escape” fun reading. You gotta pay attention yo. That didn’t really make me mad, but I could see it impeding what could be someone’s enjoyment of this book. 

Recommend to: those looking for something, ANYTHING different. Fans of weird. Weirdos. Those who won’t admit to being weird. Nerds. Book nerds. Lincoln fans. Those who don’t like massive blocks of text.

Thanks so much to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for the carpel tunnel from flipping back and forth so much… oh and for an advanced copy in exchange for this honest review.

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