Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Book Review: "The Silliest Stories Out of Bustleburg" by Jimmy Misfit

Many cities get a deservedly bad rap, but none are quite like Bustleburg, a city in rapid decline. Major chemical companies, processing plants, refineries, and waste treatment localities are poisoning the city, creating a so-called "Death Garden." The Yuckamud River has caught fire countless times, and the city's skyline has been voted ugliest skyline every year for the last 20.

But it's not just the environmental conditions in Bustleburg that make it "America's Worst City." The city implemented a caste system similar to India, "so they changed it to where four quadrants were laborers and one quadrant simply got to be top dogs no matter what." (No one who doesn't belong in Burnsvale is allowed to go there.) Libraries and trees are forbidden (well, trees are allowed as long as they stay put in the Municipal Tree Sanctuary), and caffeine, chocolate, and most music is sort of illegal. (Plus, it's very hard for a restaurant to get an oven since they're a fire hazard, but restaurants are doing wonders these days with microwaves, and cold fusion bistros are all the rage.)

Jimmy Misfit's unique, zany collection of stories about this dying metropolis are full of people who find themselves in crazy situations when they run up against Bustleburg's rules and notorious citizens. From the eager employee of the Bustleburg Environmental Lobby who finds his tour to attract new employees hijacked by the local crime family to the young girl who learns about preferential treatment when she has to capitulate to the town's corrupt mayor, from the man excited about his job at I Can't Believe It's Tofu only to be paired up with a new employee with ulterior motives to the striking firemen, Misfit's stories are full of humor, creativity, and turns of phrase sure to make you guffaw.

While these stories certainly are caricatures, Misfit imbues them with heart, as well. Not all of his characters are buffoons or villains—some are simply trying to make their way against the tide, which just happens to be the entire city of Bustleburg. This is definitely one of those books that can provide a total change of pace, the perfect antidote to too much melodrama, murder, or domestic angst. Misfit definitely gets points for creativity here, as he essentially built a whole town full of characters, foibles, and situations!!

Give this one a try when you're looking for a good chuckle.

NetGalley and JMS Books LLC provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

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