Written by Morgue Anne
I should start off my review of Jimmy by William Malmborg by saying that this is not for the faint of heart. There are some extreme and graphic scenes of violence that many people will find upsetting and I am sure that more than a few people will start this book and set it down after the first few chapters. Those people will be missing out. Those like Malmborg who understand that everyone’s mind has these dark corners and the purpose of art, particularly fictional writing, is for many to express that in a healthy way will enjoy and hopefully really appreciate this book for what it is. Jimmy is an escape from reality that can be safe, sane, and consensual while still being intensely frightening.
For Jimmy, the title character of Malmborg’s novel, this distinction is not so clear. Trapped in that terrible in-between of adulthood and adolescence, Jimmy is further cursed with an unquenchable desire he simply can’t shake.
Too embarrassed to even talk to anyone, Jimmy dives deeper in the world of online porn. Malmborg does a fantastic job of not harping on pornography and showing that it’s the lack of knowledge and real-world context that does the real damage. As Jimmy’s fetish takes a turn towards obsession, he starts doing more and more to satisfy himself until he can take it no more and kidnaps a girl from his school.
This novel is definitely deeper than it seems at first glance, so don’t disregard this as a shock-value book. It would have been far too easy to turn this into an erotic novel and be a more extreme erotica, and I appreciate that while this is easily one of the most fucked up books I’ve read in a while, it’s also incredibly well written. Jimmy goes on a very real journey and knows that many of the choices he makes on the way to adulthood are wrong even as he can’t stop himself from making them. He is frighteningly real - I was kind of the weird kid, and I know we all knew at least one person in high school who just didn’t fit in with everyone else. The tragedy is, of course, that Jimmy makes such terrible choices and the effect that this has on the people around him, proving that while every teenager makes dumb decisions, they can still scorch the earth around you forever.
This is a different kind of horror that I found exciting and terrifying. Jimmy Hawthorne is the scariest villain of all because he’s a human being. He learns lessons and actually grows on you as a character heartbeats after revolting you. If you are someone who understands that you can be both a monster and a human being, or if you can enjoy a good psychology-meets-true crime, this is your book. If you are not comfortable with the idea of violence, or if maybe you need your violence to be a little more abstract, avoid this. Or better yet, protest it. This is a book deserving of more attention.
Written by Grace Ibrahim
Flash Pulp is a podcast the broadcasts every Monday Wednesday and Friday and is done in the style of 1930’s and 40’s radio programs. Their tag-line is “A fiction podcast with a modern pulp twist,” and that really does cover it. They tell stories in three to ten minute segments in the style of old radio sci-fi and stories of the supernatural . I strongly suggest you check out Jabber part 1 and 2 a story of the supernatural! The music they use at the beginning and end of each segment really takes you back to the days of pill box hats, stockings and flapper dresses. They also have cool segments of geek news and horrible histories which is done by my good friend Gibraltar and is really very fun! So if you have some time at work or you are hanging out playing your favorite table top game with some pizza and root beer you should tune in to Flash Pulp. Make your geek night complete!