Thursday, August 11, 2016
I Woke Up Dead At the Mall, by Judy Sheehan
It's an extremely quirky story about the afterlife, righting some wrongs, clairvoyance, evil stepmothers, bad songwriting, Oprah, and living in New York City. It's clever and funny. It will amuse you.
But it's not much of a story. Sheehan likes to make a funny scene out of an absurdity, but she doesn't really seem to know what to do with it. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, but not much point to the novel. It's a bit too much of a downer to be a comedy (Gabrielle Zevin's Elsewhere is an obvious precursor), it's too flippant to say much about faith, the righting-of-wrongs stuff moves the story along but gets mired in a lot of silliness about "angels" -- it is a narrative mess. The most endearing characters are the silly ones (Declan, Bertha, the Boy). Sarah and Nick and just plain boring. The novel will still amuse you, in spite of all that.