Monday, June 4, 2018

Review: The Mortification of Fovea Munson by Mary Winn Heider

“Fovea Munson discovers three disembodied heads that won't stop talking in this funny, gross-out, genuine middle-grade novel by a talented debut author.”

I saved the receipts!
I like this book. A lot. And I’ve been waiting for it for six years, people. Tomorrow it drops and you should run out and get it. Ask your librarian to order it. Stalk your local independent bookseller, or point-click-ship it into your life ASAP.

You will thank me.

Mary Winn Heider is yet-another-VCFA grad. I first encountered Fovea Munson and her talking heads during Mary Winn’s graduate reading. I literally LOL’d, as did everybody else in the room.

The book is weird. It’s a little bit gross. The whole novel is a lesson in “yes and” as it builds absurdity on top of absurdity. But, you buy into it every step of the way because, as whacky as it gets, it all makes sense.

Mary Winn is clockmaker of the bizarre and this book keeps perfect time.

And yet, even as the comic twists pile up, there’s a yearning heartfelt middle-grade character arc happening. One that does something I haven’t seen very often (if at all) in any other books. Fovea loses. She doesn’t get what she sets out for, and reader, it kind of hurts. And I think that might be the mightiest part of this story.

The hero gets hurt. The hero suffers. The hero gets over it. Sort of. And continues to feel that heartache. And life goes on.

In other words, Fovea is real.

Talking heads and all.

Meet the Author

You make comedy look easy. Is it? 
Super easy. Easy as pie. Pie that has been made out of magical apples that run around really fast and do not want to be in pie.
So that is super nice of you. Er, no. But also, I loved spending time with these characters and most of the funny came from understanding what they would do and want in the given circumstances. So it was fun hard work.

Um, you worked in a cadaver lab? 
Yep! It was very weird and very inspiring, which is sort of a sweet spot for me. I was the receptionist- the same job that Fovea gets stuck with, and, like her, it ended up being a little...more involved. Very minor spoiler: in the book, she accidentally orders 600 legs. I did that.

Is there a sequel? Cadaver Jam 2020! 
SOLD! No, next up is another stand-alone middle grade! I keep writing what I call Dirtbag Fabulism- stories with fantastical elements that are still grounded in the kids being regular kids and not The Chosen One. The next book starts when somebody throws all the tubas off the school roof. (As former second chair French horn for Hand Middle School, I have concerns.)

What are you reading now?
I just finished Bizarre Romance by Audrey Niffenegger and Eddie Campbell. Next up is the latest issue of the Backstagers comic, Spineless by Juli Berwald, and Tiny Infinities by J.H.Diehl. My TBR pile is going to crush me.

Anything else you want to share?
Hmm...this magical apple pie?

1 comment:

  1. I am a great fan of Dirtbag Fabulism. This novel is joining my "it will crush me, too" TBR pile.

    Thanks for the great interview, Jim and Mary!


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