Title: Whom God Would Destroy
Author: Commander Pants
Published: 2009 Pages: 288
Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid
Oliver is an outreach counselor working with some very unusual outpatients. Abbey, the highly sexualized woman with MPD, tempts Oliver. Doc's paranoid obsession with Big Mac loving aliens amuses him. And Greg's schizophrenia offers a touch of excitement. But Oliver's life is not all mental patients; he is also bombarded by the sane...well, the sort of sane. His boss Stuart loves theatrical therapy, the boss's boss Peggy is intent on firing him, and then there's Jeremy, a New Age shop owner with a magical bell.
As these characters and more flit in and out of the book, the reader is treated to a convoluted yet simply told look at the nature of humanity, reality, and sanity.
Euripides said "whom God wishes to destroy, he first sends mad", and clearly Commander Pants knows his Euripides. Reading this novel is a bit like going mad as you careen through multiple characters and multiple characters with multiple personalities, and each reality you encounter seems just as believable as the next until you are perfectly comfortable accepting burger-eating aliens in search of the Ultimate Orgasm, bell-dinging deities unsure of their own plan, and not-really-crazy people with great acting abilities. If that doesn't make sense, go read the novel.
The novel is easy to read, the language simple but stylistically intriguing. The plot, however, left a bit to be desired. Until the end, I was never quite sure where things were heading - and not in that suspenseful, mysterious way - and in the end, not much had really happened. I would like to add a caveat to this though: I was sick for a week in the middle of reading, which meant that everything went on hold for me for a full seven days. It is possible that this long pause in the book is what made the plot less accessible for me.
While the plot was a bit eh, the novel is peppered with fascinating characters. Oliver, Jeremy, Abbey et. al., Greg et. al., Doc, Ooklahs, Stuart, Leona, and well, you get the idea, delight in their individual idiosyncrasies as they unapologetically live in their own version of the real world. I can't even begin to describe the characters because you really need to experience them for yourself.
Thematically, not many books can tackle so many serious issues in such an absurd but meaningful way. Commander Pants touches on mental health, medication, religion, consumerism, selfishness, sexuality, reality, and Big Macs.
Memorable Scene: For me the most memorable scene is when Jeremy is speaking to millions of viewers, telling them of the farce that is religion. This is not my favorite scene because I believe religion and God are a giant joke but because of the main message I feel his speech reveals: "God" gave humanity some wonderful rules and messages, but humanity, in its infinite unwisdom, has always twisted those rules and messages, perverting them, and causing more hate and destruction through these perversions.
Memorable Quote: As one man rails at fast-food joint patrons, articulating blurpy truths that are insightful in their incoherence, another asks a pertinent question: What chance does reason have against the freight train of invention?
If I've missed yours, let me know!
A Reader's Respite; Illiterarty; Reading Backwards;
A Post from the Commander himself can be found here.
Challenges: SciFi Challenge;
FTC Disclosure: Commander Pants himself sent me this book. Originally I think it was for a positive review, but once Commander Pants found out that I actually knew the details of the Ultimate Orgasm, he exchanged the book for those details; hence, this review was not bought in any way, shape, or form.