May 31

Book Review: Spoonbenders


Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory

I got this book as an audiobook from audible and very much enjoyed it. The narrator had a very pleasant voice and he didn’t do falsettos for the women. A couple of the characters had thick Chicago accents while the others were more neutral.

You could say this story is a story about a family who used to have a talent show until a skeptic debunker unjustly “proved” their powers were false. That’s true, but that’s not the most interesting part of the story. I did like the characters’ interaction with each other in a traditional/conservative old-fashioned type of family in which the women are the grown ups and the men always do things they need to apologize for.

My favorite part of the story was how all the complex plots interacted with each other. Irene finds online romance but has a lot of baggage. Matty discovers his powers and gets roped into helping his uncle Frankie try to get some money. Frankie owes money to the mob he can’t repay. Teddy, Frankie’s father, falls in love with a woman who is involved deep in the mob in her own way. And Buddy …

Buddy is the most interesting character. Buddy’s talent is clairvoyance. He can see the future and has been able to since he was a little boy. During the course of the novel, Buddy is making big plans, most of which involve renovating his father’s house in odd ways. Why is he digging a huge hole in the yard? Why did he install slippery tiles on the front porch? Why are there steel window shades in the basement, and who did he build those bunk beds for? As Frankie, Teddy, Matty and Irene’s own plots converge on September 4th, you just know that Buddy’s plans are going to be set in motion like a Rube Goldberg machine, with eight kids, a puppy, three government agents, a couple of mobsters and a family of con artists, some of whom are also psychics.

This is a really fun story.

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