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The Norma Gene
     

The Norma Gene

4.0 1
by Michelle E. Roufa
 

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Fiction. As the world's first completely illegal clone of America's 16th President, Abe Finkelstein grew up with just one wish: to live his life just like anybody else. But when you're a living ringer for one of the country's best-loved historical figures, privacy is hard to come by—especially when your face is on money. Across town, Norma Greenberg, one

Overview


Fiction. As the world's first completely illegal clone of America's 16th President, Abe Finkelstein grew up with just one wish: to live his life just like anybody else. But when you're a living ringer for one of the country's best-loved historical figures, privacy is hard to come by—especially when your face is on money. Across town, Norma Greenberg, one of the world's many Marilyn Monroe clones, is struggling with identity issues of a different sort. It's not easy going through life as a copy of the beautiful Norma Jeane Baker! When Abe is taken away by government agents eager to discover the secrets of his illustrious ancestor, Norma could be Abe's last hope of escape—or, thanks to her kleptomania, his worst chance of recapture. With only their wits, a cigarette lighter, a bottle of perfume, and the disembodied arm of Richard Nixon, can Abe and Norma make it back to safety and anonymity?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
06/15/2015
This cleverly conceived but very uneven farcical debut aims for high-energy absurdity while exploring what it means to be famous. In a near-future Orlando, Fla., obsessed with spectacle, Abe Finkelstein, an illegal clone of Abraham Lincoln, tries to keep low-key as an American History professor. Norma Jeane Greenberg, one of many Marilyn Monroe clones, is a kleptomaniac working at a perfume counter; she has the classic existential crisis of her cohort about whether to hide behind an everyday life as Norma Jeane or embrace Marilyn’s glamour. When researchers come hunting Abe, hoping to lock him up and study him, Norma Jeane helps him escape into the dubious safety of Disneyland. The science behind the cloning is unsatisfyingly explained to the reader when it should have been thought through better or else omitted entirely. The sexual tension between Abe and Norma Jeane is weak, and the expected consummation is both contextually implausible and summarized with a single sentence in comically large type. Roufa’s plot might work as a staged play with excellent character actors, but in this format, it’s just a bunch of funny moments awkwardly strung together. (Aug.)
Kirkus Reviews
2015-06-01
Roufa's debut novel follows the misadventures of a clone of Abraham Lincoln and a clone of Marilyn Monroe as they attempt to evade government agents and figure out what it means to claim their own identities. In a future where cloning has advanced to the point that it's a widespread technology, so accepted that parents have the choice of selecting clones of celebrities to be their children, Abraham Lincoln Finkelstein is an anomaly. An illegal clone of a "crucial historical figure," Abe lives a quiet life teaching American history at a high school in Orlando, Florida, until the discovery of his unique genetic identity puts him under the scrutiny of curious government agents. Norma Jeane Greenberg works as a perfume sales representative at a department store, struggling with an ambivalent acceptance of herself as one of the many clones of Marilyn Monroe and a weakness for kleptomania. Abe and Norma become charmingly unlikely allies on the run from cartoonish government agents and department store security. Roufa's characters are both endearing and funny, and she plumbs the premise they're based on for delightfully zany details—a support group for clones of Marilyn Monroe, a restaurant where every dish contains cloned dodo—but the emotions are often heavy-handed, and the humor has a flavor of airless calculation. The novel feels so concerned with making sure the reader appreciates all the jokes that the story gets held up by constant nudging and plodding repetition. While it aims at the modern preoccupations of realness, identity, and fame, it tries so hard to pound those points home that they feel like obligatory lessons dropped into a comedy, leeching the story of both emotional resonance and fun. A novel with a madcap premise and appealing characters that does not quite fulfill its comedic promise.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781938463419
Publisher:
Bitingduck Press
Publication date:
08/03/2015
Pages:
310
Sales rank:
1,005,187
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author


M.E. Roufa has ridden an ostrich, appeared on Jeopardy, and can crochet a mean banana. In her spare time, she works as an award winning advertising writer and creative director whose work has appeared everywhere from the Super Bowl to the sides of shampoo bottles. THE NORMA GENE is her first novel.

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The Norma Gene 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous 7 days ago
I truly loved this book. Finally an ebook with believable dialogue and interesting characters. I will be awaiting her next novel.