Book Review: Hot Air
Reviewed by Jaylynn Korrell
A zany small town story that takes situational humor to the next level
Hot Air is filled with crazy characters and wild situations. Author Charlie Suisman’s writing style is eccentric and unafraid to dive into silliness. If you can keep up with wacky and wild, you’re going to have quite the experience with Hot Air.
All is not well for the upstate New York town of Arnold Falls, as some of their more eccentric residents find themselves in strange predicaments left and right. Told mostly from the perspective of town resident Jeebie, this novel is rife with characters who need immediate action.
What makes a situation zany, wild, wacky, and mysterious at the same time? Well:
- Jeebie is challenging himself to go plant-based after forming a unique relationship with a cow.
- Other characters are fighting to have the town’s name changed to either Emollimax or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter to make a quick buck.
- A hermit has taken up residence in the town, and the hospital is dealing with suspicious characters.
- Some of the most valuable town possessions have gone missing.
Suisman has no lack of imagination. The wild antics of nearly each scene carry a sense of uniqueness you won’t see anywhere else.
The pace of the book moves quickly, jumping from short scene to short scene, and it’s packed with jokey dialogue. While these short scenes do move quickly, at times they leave the plot by the wayside in order to get out their primary purpose in presenting the humor.
Hot Air is a largely character-driven tale, dependent more on character obstacles and growth than on plot. These characters depend on each other, get together often, and don’t shy away from meddling in each other’s lives in typical small town fashion.
Readers who enjoy delving into character relationships will no doubt enjoy what Hot Air is bringing to the table. Something I appreciate in good humor books: not many situations are too serious to laugh at here, and each scene can be lightened with joke-cracking characters. The style of comedy makes sense for the town, its characters, and the situations that occur.
However, these characters can go on for too long with their jokes and lose me along the way. The scenes can move too fast at times, making it hard to keep track of what is going on. I found myself rereading sections to figure out where the story was supposed to be going, and I’d occasionally leave a chapter without a clear idea of its purpose.
At about the halfway mark, I came to recognize that this quick-cut style is as much of a roller coaster as the town itself, so it’s best to just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Perhaps the strongest storyline here is the mystery of figuring out who is stealing the town’s prized possessions. The things being stolen are typical and at times valuable, which makes trying to figure out who the culprit is even more of a mystery.
This humorous novel isn’t for everyone, but it could be a good fit for those seeking the silliness of everyday life.
Genre: Literary Fiction / Humor
Print Length: 270 pages
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