Punch review by: Mandy Tyra
Oh, my god. I am gutted…. Just…. gutted from J.R. Park’s strikingly realistic, dramatically powerful portrayal of a good and honest man pushed and pulled (head first) over the brink of his sanity.
Martin Powell is a broken man, his hopes and dreams cruelly crushed years ago, 10 years ago to be exact, he’s been ‘away’ for 10 long gruelling torturous years, away from his home in the idyllic seaside town of Stanwick Sands where he ran the popular Punch and Judy show.
He loved children, he loved performing, he loved life, he was a great puppeteer and his booth was a show stopping spectacle with the kiddos, and adults.
With flashback pieces peppered throughout, you quickly get up to speed on the where’s, how’s, and why’s regarding our Mr. Powell and his going-ons of the past decade.
Now, back in town simply to get his affairs in order, mainly fix up his old house so he can sell it and move on with his damaged destitute life, elsewhere.
Well, ‘simple‘ doesn’t take too kindly to him, once the townsfolk pick up on his scent.
Even the paper runs a frontpage ‘announcement’.
Small town close-knit communities really can be a fickle rabid bitch and he’s met with a hateful vigor.
Buuuut, he’s trying his damnedest to not let it bother him, the carnival is in town that week and he’s feeling all nostalgic, plus, he’s met himself a gal. She really fancies him and he’s really feeeling good for the first time in ages.
Sadly, the bothers get beyond bothersome, they get downright violent, which breeds more violence.
Ya know, even the most pleasant, sweet-natured, and forgiving man has his limits, you can only bend, twist, and wretch someone so much, before an inevitable snap into a dozen schizophrenic pieces befalls.
So now, a little revival is in show stopping store for the residents of Stanwick Sands.
YEP, Mr. Powell is gonna host his own happy reunion welcome back party. The Punch and Judy show is baaaack, with a few new puppeteer characters.
Gotta keep up with the times and give the public what they want, what they deserve….
OH man, does this gets brutal in the 2nd half!!
You will flat-out loathe quite a few of these characters but never Martin, even after all the eye-popping (gouging) and stomach turning (…disemboweling) atrocious acts he ‘performs’, you still can’t find fault in him. Especially when it comes to a couple of horrid young women….prissy little twunts.
They’ve taken everything from him; his years, his life, his entire livelihood, including his spirit and now finally, his sanity.
You care and feel for him. Aaand then you hoop, rally, and cheer him on in this little purging punitive comeuppance exhibition of his.
I felt so dirty, yet it was quite cleansing.
This book affected me deeply, I can’t shake it off, I’m trying but the whiplash is affecting me more. Oh it just made me sick, all the juvenile injustices, so unfair….just tragic. Made my blood boil!
I felt like I was right there going through all that with Martin.
The cringing, the crying, and of course, the gagging…yea, I went a bit batshit over this suckerPunch of a book. And it was actually uncomfortable to read at times, I had to take little breaks.
That’s ALL due to Mr. Park’s amazingly captivating, all-consuming (all-inclusive) writing style.
It’s totally absorbing, you just get soaked right into it….through it…
Whisked away into this cathartic retributive tale in this coastal town as if it’s a virtual reality feature playing on the 4D screen. Could even smell the salty air.
I actually read in the acknowledgments that this was originally written as a script for a movie!?
Make that happen Mr. Park!!
Bryan Cranston would make for a perfect lead, a little older but considering what the character has gone through, premature aging would fit well.
OR, if you insist on a British bloke, I vote Gary Oldman. Oh Yeah!
I simply cannot believe this book is not more popular, come on people, what’s the deal ~ READ IT, live in it, dream in it. So what if you get a vivid nightmare or two….
No seriously, if you want an incredibly well written and deeply profound, plus yucky gross book ~ THEN THIS IS IT!!
I LOVE it when a book (i.e. phenomenal author) has the power to suck, errr..soak you in like this.
Definitely (and defiantly) one of my favorite recent reads and I read bunches.
Creepy as hell cover too.
Terror Byte shall be my next read from him, about a killer computer program….it might be a tad bit over my head because I am a self professed (ok, majority professed) cyber-tard but hey, I may learn a thing or two. Possible don’t gotta be plausible…right???….. Lol
You can get the book here: