So I got this book, Randy and Walter: American Wasteland. And I read it. And wow, just wow.
Here’s the link, by the way.
It was a deeply offensive book, but I know Tristan Slaughter and know that he is out for shock and doesn’t actually believe the things he writes about. He included a preface and with a book like this, I think it’s necessary given the ongoing gorefest in the book. I also know Tristan is about shock value, and he did not fail in delivering. I waited it out to write a review because I’m so bogged with a billion other things that I wanted to do this book justice with my interpretation of it, and also I’m hoping the next book will be out soon. So let me stop beating around the bush and get to my assessment of it.
Violence and gore abounds in the book, so it’s not for the squeamish. It is a satisfying read and I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll try not to, but it’s also a very thought-provoking piece that I felt was metaphorical in so many ways. It mirrors real life through supernatural horror.
This story is told in a way something like Dracula. It stops detailing one set of characters and picks up with another and catches up again. I loved that aspect because you get to see what they’re going through without having a billion things happening at once, so it’s very easy to keep up with and remember “who’s who” as you’re reading.
Randy didn’t seem to be in the book as much as Walter, but you get a feel for him even if you haven’t read the other books in the series. However, there is a sixteen year old girl (here’s where it may be a spoiler alert so stop reading if you want to be surprised!) who somehow wiggles her way into our hearts and garners our sympathy as she’d been sexually abused by men throughout her adolescence…which was spent in the prison system for murdering her parents when she was just a tween! This spirals into another random act of violence, and no prison was strong enough to hold her. Once she went on a rampage, she didn’t need guns or blades; her hands and teeth became deadly weapons. Her thoughts are more precocious than her chronological age, but she gives the impression of a wild animal. Unpredictable and savage. But let me address some other things in the story.
I loved how Tristan Slaughter brought himself into the story in the most unimaginable way possible. That was a huge point of interest for me. It wasn’t that he brought himself into the story, but the way he did it.
The storyline was great, and there was an interesting plot line that leaves you asking yourself, “What happens next?” I can’t recommend this book highly enough to those who are bored with romance and the “blah” selection of books out there.
Above was my review, and below is my analysis of what I got from the book because I do feel there was a deep sense of intelligence that went into it because I felt it was written in a way that addresses the current state of the world.
And one thing I absolutely loved about the book. Everything had names similar to things we’d recognise in “our” world. “Mall-Hart” was a superstore mentioned several times throughout the book, and there was a place called “Armadillo, Texas” among several other things. It gave it a sense of reality coupled with a sort of “comic-relief” because I giggled at times when I associated the fictitious places and things with the real ones. Also, some of the things were done in what I feel was a parody about reality. Such as the names of celebrities. Which brings me to something I adored about the book.
I feel that Hollywood is rife with a lack of talent these days. I have no interest in celebrities, and I feel this book addressed how we turn a blind eye to a lot of the important issues in the world and in our own lives in exchange for those who have no connection to the real world. I do have disdain for those in show business, and it’s actually not directed at the celebrities themselves but rather the way people swoon over stars. They’re just people, nothing special, and every time some mundane event takes place in their lives, it’s news. So&So had to cancel concerts due to strep throat. This couple is getting married (finally!) or breaking up (inevitably!). So&So is having a baby, get the exclusive pictures here! I feel it’s obnoxious. Financially, they don’t have a care in the world so why are people supporting them by purchasing magazines featuring celebs on the cover who just had a baby or tuning into mindless TV, while part of the world can barely afford to put food on the table with a full time job, and sometimes have to choose between food, utilities, and medication, but people are buying the magazine to hear a celeb talk about a week long hospital stay due to their exhaustion from being overworked? It doesn’t make sense to me.
That being said, the gross, horrible depiction in this book of the rotten underbelly of Hollywood made me smile. It also made me want to be sick to my stomach, and I even sat for a moment in pure shock in one point and even now, there is a certain part in that book that truly disturbs me to my core. A whole book based on violence and gore and one single scene disturbed me. I think it was because the book was so fast-paced I didn’t focus on what was happening but rather the story. However, this was a part where the pace had slowed down, and this particular scene just sorta slaps you in the face and gets your attention. But the bits about Hollywood corruption perfectly depicted not how I feel about celebs, but rather how we arbitrarily commit idolatry with them. And the sickening metaphors echoed directly to me. Because I feel that stardom is nothing more than a glossed over “Wasteland” (no intention of using that word from the book’s title but I found it suitable).
I also feel that the violence in the book is a statement against actual violence, but also how we treat each other and what we’re doing to this world. In a literal sense, of course we don’t condone violence. But figuratively we are destroying our world and each other. It’s no secret that I’m a Democrat, and the issue of global warming is becoming a scary reality. We turn a blind eye to inequality when it doesn’t affect us, but it truly does even if it’d indirectly. And we inflict pain, sometimes to the extent of emotional scarring upon others with our words.
Maybe I’m overanalysing because I feel this book was written with an injection of intellect in the guise of a really intriguing story. But that’s what I took from it. And that’s the message that hit home for me.