The Raw Shark Texts (Guest Review)
By Good-Evil Contributor Thursday, 7 Aug 2008

Contributed by Jeremy Stoltzfus. Okay. I’m going to try to write a coherent review of this book without prattling on like a school girl about how omg good this book is – but no promises. I’m also going to try to keep it spoiler free since I’m assuming not many other people have read it. So, let’s start with the premise: The narrator wakes up on the floor of his bedroom with no memory of who he is or how he got there. His only indication is a note from himself telling him to go immediately to somebody named Doctor Randle who apparently holds the answers to all of his questions. From there he embarks on an epic journey to regain his identity. Sound familiar? Probably, it’s not a very unique premise, but this actually ends up working in this book’s favor since reader expectations are pretty low when the plot takes a turn for the AWESOME. The name “Raw Shark Texts” is actually a play on the words “Rorschach Test”, which is basically the ink blob test (Doc shows you a blob of ink and asks you what you think it looks like (The correct answer to which is always, of course, “a penis.”)). This book definitely delivers on the name, too, as everybody who reads it is likely to pull something different out of it. It would be impossible to label this book as any one genre since it is as much a romance novel as it is science fiction or an action packed thriller. It transcends genre by mashing every existing genre into one amorphous ink blob of un-genre. Even the plot is completely left open to interpretation. Its ambiguity makes it a very interesting read, but it is also its biggest flaw. This book ends up being a patchwork of mediocre attempts at many different genres. If you go into this expecting a strong entry in any one single genre, then you’re likely to walk away fairly disappointed. Where this book shines is how seamlessly it combines them all together. It’s versatile enough to stay interesting throughout, but not so erratic as to alienate the reader. But most importantly this book has charm, dammit, and lots of it. The main character is a very relatable, laid back sort of character. The romance

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between him and the love interest in this book is so natural and convincing that you will find yourself completely infatuated with her by the end of the book (that goes for you ladies, too). The author also does some great House-Of-Leaves-esque typography stuff that really adds a lot to the presentation. Overall, I am going to give this a Great instead of Classic, just because it’s hard to pin down exactly what it is about the book that makes it so good. You can count on two things, though: Once you start reading this one, you won’t be able to put it down – and the ending will invoke some pretty strong emotions in even the most stone cold readers.

3 Responses to “The Raw Shark Texts (Guest Review)”

  1. Zach Patterson Says:

    this sounds excellent. i’m a gay for house of leaves-esque stuff.

  2. Andrew Raub Says:

    Sounds like House of Leaves mixed with Memento. I’ll have to borrow this from you.

  3. jer Says:

    Ha.Yeah, I think you nailed it with the Memento comparison. It’s definitely watered down compared to the mind-fuck that is House of Leaves, but it’s still pretty crazy. You can borrow it whenever man, it’s just collecting dust on my shelf now.

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