Bunyan’s Guide to the Great American Wildlife is no easy read, both for its contents (quite triggering) and its style (a lot of reviewers found it to be all over the place). Since I’ve read another book by Quentin Canterel, I can firmly say it’s simply the author’s quirky style, but if you get used to his storytelling, you will be able to enjoy it. However, I must start my review with the fact that this book is definitely not for everyone. But I enjoyed it.
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★★★★☆ 4 stars
Bunyan’s Guide to the Great American Wildlife is quite a complicated and sad book. It definitely belongs with the literary, what with its complicated, convoluted structure, use of Latin, German and even some languages I couldn’t discern (with no footnote translations, no less – I have to admit that was somewhat annoying, because I can understand at least some 7 languages and still missed quite a bit) and heavy topics told in some pretty oddball, wacky ways. It’s not one of those books that wallows in sadness for sure – everything is told in a poetical, quite hip manner, and you definitely get an “alternative misfit society” vibe that some literary books have. But she topics are simply heartbreaking – suicide, rape, violence and the dark outskirts of the American backwaters of poverty and lack of education. I’ve read a few novels like this, they share this theme, but I have to say that Bunyan’s Guide told it in quite a unique way and it really pulled off the twists well. Ultimately, there were some things I didn’t quite understand, but it IS a complicated book, and I don’t think you’re meant to get it all the way on the first go anyway.
Essentially, Bunyan’s Guide to the Great American Wildlife is about how darkness of the soul, addiction and mistrust and can destroy lives. But as you start reading, you won’t be aware of this, as it seems it’s just about these wacky, fashionable city dwellers who are simply getting on with their odd, directionless lives in the city rush. Slowly, a picture of the past and present will come together from letters, testimonies, memoir excerpts and even Ouija board messages (admittedly, this is what makes the story complicated.) It’s all filled with regret and inevitability, especially because we know the sad fate of the main character right from the start – we just don’t know why and how.
A photo of the Kindle e-reader in grass with strawberries beside it and the title of Bunyan’s Guide to the Great American Wildlife displayed on the screen
The story of Bunyan’s Guide to the Great American Wildlife is an important one to tell – it’s a family tragedy, but of course also a personal tragedy that drags in everyone around it and eats them whole. The book has relevant, deep material, but it might prove heavy for a sensitive reader, or just downright depressing, even if you’re not that sensitive, and it might also prove hard to wrap your head around the storyline if you’re not used to the quirky, bumbling writing style that it has. But it definitely is well written and a good book.Bunyan's Guide to the Great American Wildlife has a hard, but important story to tell – it's a family tragedy, but also a personal tragedy that drags in everyone around it and eats them whole. ★★★★☆ 4 stars Click To Tweet
I thank the publisher for giving me a free copy of the ebook through NetGalley in exchange to my honest review. This has not affected my opinion.
But Beware Of The Triggers
Bunyan’s Guide to the Great American Wildlife has a lot of triggers. They include
Do you read many titles that have you pause and think to even wrap your mind around the story? Or do you prefer simpler books?
I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.