I really enjoyed Silent Minority, but I kinda hated that I did. It was a nice sandwich of ideas. I had great hope for it but while clever is a good description, heavy handed is also a bit accurate, as is disingenuous. So what’s up here? A positive review that feels like a negative review?
The answer: as is common with fringe fiction, I was offended just the right amount to make me enjoy the book while also desiring to throw it against the wall.
Touche Mr Thompson.. Well played.
Unfortunately, Silent Minority had a few flaws I became hung up on and they are casting a heavy shadow on my enjoyment. I do not regret reading it. Bizarro never truely lets me down, BUT I am a smidge disappointed.
- Silent Minority (Jeremy Thompson)
- 212 pages
- ISBN-10: 1545061068
- ISBN-13: 978-1545061060
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Quick plotline level-set:
Vic Dickens is a persecuted mid-twenties homebody; He keeps to himself and generally only goes out when his shift at a local comic book store is scheduled. Despite (or because of) his introverted and hermitish behavior, Vic’s Neighbors despise him and seem hyper malevolent toward him for seeming no other reason.
The Neighbors congregate and bitch about him. The Neighbors are obsessive. They just never let up on Vic. He has no idea why, but their entire universe seems to revolve around making him miserable and or gossiping about murdering and hiding his corpse. Eventually, The Neighbors tormenting leads to their killing of his dog.
Recognizing the danger to himself and feeling vengeful, Vic takes matters into his own hands. Vic breaks several laws and eventually murders the most agitated/seemingly dangerous of the bunch, then flees the scene.
Mr. Dickens, however, is never arrested for the blatant murder. Instead, he finds it covered up by an underground society named the Silent Minority. They offer to bring him into their fold, harbor him and help him further avenge not just himself, but an entire world of introverts persecuted by “Normals”.
Sounds pretty good right?
In reading Silent Minority, I am reminded that sometimes you can enjoy a book, but get derailed by the short-sighted perspectives some of the characters embody. You don’t have to like a character in order to like a book, but it taints the memory of the read.
You hope while a story percolates toward the last page, the protagonist will grow and evolve, but Vic never does. He had a lot going against him, but he stayed one note.
Bullets -Things I hated about Vic Dicken’s that were NOT awesome.
1) Vic treats a woman in the book like he owns her. I infer this is how he treats all women. Blockading a frightened woman by a trash dumpster, knowing by the situation that she has an abuse history, Vic forces her to talk to him. Within following chapters, Vic touches her arms and legs when it clearly makes her uncomfortable, because her eyes told him this was okay or some other predatory delusional nonsense. Ultimately she begins making him daily meals... As a character, she is incapable of speech, so the quiet woman in the kitchen happy to cook for a man social card got played. This specific woman is whip-smart but really only adds to the book as arm candy for Vic and to allow a couple hyperviolent flashback scenes that probably were not needed.
2) Vic’s inner monologue is frequently focused on putting his dick into ladies. He is a loud-mouthed asshat who’s only real ‘introvert’ tendency is liking to sit at home by himself watching movies. He likes to torment his tormenters. He is truly only a social nod from an B-list social member and he would be joining the ranks of ‘acceptable’.
3) Vic is a closet racist. You can see it in how he views others, you can hear it in how he mocks music on the radio. Vic is wonderbread, I had hoped for multigrain.
Regardless of his other faux-pas and poor man-boy behavior, one sentence added to all the other bad ‘Vic-isms’ and put this final bullet into the dead horse.
So what was the sentence?
Quote: “Man, I bet that we look so gay right now, Vic thought.”
4) Throughout the book, Vic is referred to using a variety of homophobic slurs. He hates it, but continues to use them himself. Why? After everything he goes through, after being involved with vast arrays of Introverts in the secret society he cannot see that he is propagating the problem with the words he uses. I do not feel like this aspect of the book was genuine. It does not feel like social commentary added by the author. It feels like an asshole character was speaking and that asshole is unaware he is an asshole (can’t see the forest for the trees)
Every reader has a unique experience, you might find my opinion to be too strong or restrictive. Channel your inner Levar Burton and reading rainbow it if you would like.
If you are not annoyed by socially inappropriate scenarios by the ‘Hero’, this is probably a 4-star book. I would land somewhere around 2.5 with a 1-star margin of error. Different chapters would get the margin in different directions.
This book was provided by the author or publisher for review purposes. Books are like breakfast cereal, once consumed it is our responsibility to advise if it was delicious, savory, too sugary, or simply milk sodden cardboard.