Sunday, July 2, 2017

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Title: Geek Love
Author: Katherine Dunn
Genre: Horror
Published: June 11, 2002
Publisher: Random House Vintage
Pages: 348


Geek Love is the story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater- and paterfamilias set out–with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes–to breed their own exhibit of human oddities. There’s Arturo the Aquaboy, who has flippers for limbs and a megalomaniac ambition worthy of Genghis Khan . . . Iphy and Elly, the lissome Siamese twins . . . albino hunchback Oly, and the outwardly normal Chick, whose mysterious gifts make him the family’s most precious–and dangerous–asset. 

As the Binewskis take their act across the backwaters of the U.S., inspiring fanatical devotion and murderous revulsion; as its members conduct their own Machiavellian version of sibling rivalry, Geek Love throws its sulfurous light on our notions of the freakish and the normal, the beautiful and the ugly, the holy and the obscene. Family values will never be the same.


I was gifted a copy of this book by a friend, can't remember who at this point but I'm not sure they had my best interests at heart. They claimed they thought I'd like this book because I'm a big fan of Stephen King, but I get the impression that they were trying to tell me something with this story, and it's not very nice. 

I thought this book was going to be a romance novel about a couple of geeky characters that are super obsessed with lame shows like Dr. Who or something, but it's not about love at all, not really. No, it's about a creepy carnival sideshow featuring a bunch of mutants that are not turtles trained as ninjas, which totally detracts from the cool factor if you ask me. 

And the parents of this sideshow are absolute monsters. I know that parents are supposed to love their children no matter what, but a parent who sets out to create physical abnormalities in their children is not exactly being a loving parent to begin with if you ask me. Seriously, who in their right mind would want to do that to their kids? And all in the name of money and fame. It's just despicable. 

In the end, I think I most related to Oly. Sitting at my computer, day after day, writing reviews and surfing Facebook has made my back less than straight as an arrow, and my complexion certainly lacks melanin (although I do still have some). And even though he's physically deformed, he's a pretty nice guy considering who his parents are at least. 

Overall I give Geek Love four bearded ladies. 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Katherine Dunn is an award-winning boxing journalist whose work has appeared in many publications, including Esquire, KO Magazine, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Playboy, The Ring, Sports Illustrated, and Vogue. She is the author of three novels, including Geek Love, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. In 2004, Dunn and photographer Jim Lommasson won the Lange-Taylor Documentary Prize for their work on the book Shadow Boxers. She is currently associate editor of, an internet boxing encyclopedia and magazine. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Alternate Reviews

If you would like to read some legitimate reviews of Geek Love, just click any of the following links.

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