18 Jan Bookbed reviews: ‘Mondo Bohemiano’ by Quentin J. Parker
In Mondo Bohemiano by Quentin J. Parker, the year is 1995 and Nigel Q. Bunnytail, a local Casanova, wants to escape his hometown in Pennsylvania to move to a quieter country life in Spokane, Washington. He specifically wants to leave because he wants to forget childhood sweetheart Millicent O’Loughlan, who broke his heart after a failed engagement. Leaving also meant abandoning his ragtag group of friends—reliable wiccan Basinah, sweet skater girl KC, his Russian fuck buddy Bogey, his BFF jazz composer Styles, drag queen neighbor Lady Miss Sasché, and his many, many spoils. They throw him one last wild party before he relocates and starts over in his new life with longtime phone pal, Sigrid Andersen. Little did he know that Sigrid is actually a manipulative control freak who had long been planning Nigel’s chastisement.
WHAT I LIKED
The author vividly describes the feelings each character goes through, including la douleur exquise or the exquisite pain of unrequited love. The thought processes and motivations of each character are fully fleshed out with each POV narrative, making them more believable and more relatable to readers.
The hipster or bohemian life in 90s Pennsylvania is also very detailed and exact—each quirk explored and their habits exposed. Throw in some witchcraft, simulated flight games, house parties, indie bands, art shows and monotonous yuppie life into the cauldron and you got yourself a book.
The abundance of details can also be confusing at times. The exposition introduced too many characters and revealed too much all at the same time. The reader may have to actively keep up with the pacing for the first few chapters but it eventually mellows down, with the narrative focusing on just one character’s experience and his or her back story one at a time.
The writing style can also be “telling” at some points, instead of “showing” to the readers, to describe what is happening.
And does everyone in Pennsylvania have a weird, hipster name?
In the foreword, the book warns its readers that it is “the world’s worst adult bedtime story or the world’s greatest love story gone horribly, horribly wrong” and that may be debatable. It is incontestably an enjoyable read but it’s not exactly “great” or “horrible” in extremity. Overall it is your typical love story of a man who got caught up in growing up and finally conforming (or non-conforming) to the “real” world he tries so hard to escape. ☁