Book Ten: Puff

Puff, Bob Flaherty

This is one of those books that I liked in spite of myself. I didn't really want to like it (don't ask why I decided to read it), and half way through I felt totally justified in my dislike of it, but then something flipped and I loved every second, every sentence of this book. Essentially, the book takes place in the seventies and the plot involves two brothers in a large van trying to make their way through a mother of a snowstorm in Boston to score a bag of pot. Which isn't quite where the book gets its name--that comes from a childhood pet cat who will viciously maul anyone in its way. Perhaps the reason I started to like the book is because I, too, had a childhood pet cat named Puff, who, when it came down to it, wasn't the most affectionate cat in the world.

Okay, so I think I decided to read the book for three reasons: because I got it as a freebie from the haul that Gael brings to bookclub, because I liked the cover, and because I remembered that the University bookstore had it on display as a staff pick. But, seriously, reading coming of age novels about stoner brothers isn't usually my thing. However, this book was super funny and super touching, in that way that makes you picture the indie movie in your head as you read it. You're laughing so much that you don't realize what happened when you're sobbing your eyes out. I mean, the author even gives you the soundtrack as you go: the Rolling Stones, the Ramones, Talking Heads, the Tubes, the Sex Pistols, and Duke and the Drivers. There's also a serious amount of disbelief to be suspended in the way of a dying mother (why are these brothers out driving around looking for pot when their mother and last remaining parent is dying in a hospital?), but it's the kind of disbelief that turns you into a believer very quickly. Because the question really is: why are these brothers out driving around looking for pot when their mother is dying in a hospital?

I imagine that this is the kind of book that appeals to 30-and-40-ish men, who fondly remember youth and the audacity that comes with being a teenage/20-something boy. But I, a 30-something girl, liked it quite a bit.


Anonymous michelle said...

who cares if i'm the only silly friend who comments! puff sounds like a quick read. LOL re: your less-than-affectionate childhood pet. i was suddenly reminded of how you occasionally used to write about (another) cat you had. i'm sure you loved her (him?) but--don't laugh--some of your descriptions made me assume said kitty was a brooding, gothic-looking, black cat. then, i remember one day (on f-log or was it d-land?) you shared a really endearing picture of her/him?, and to my complete surprise, it was a gorgeous, fluffy white cat with fluffy paws & naughty eyes. haha, lol.

March 31, 2007 at 4:15 PM  

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