Your Body Is Changing

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Overview

Fresh new hilarity from the author of The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure.

Glittering with mischief and perversity, Pushcart Prize — winner Jack Pendarvis’s latest collection introduces readers to a world of losers poised on the brink of all sorts of disaster – a world only a wink and a nod away from our own.

In the title novella a fundamentalist teenager must ...
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2007-05-31 Hardcover Fair Ex-library with usual markings and mylared dustjacket. No highlighting or underlining.

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San Francisco, CA 2007 First Edition First Edition. 8vo. VG+/VG+. solid turquoise DJ spine and front/panel background, jacket cover is lightly illustrated between enlarged ... titling and a thin black border. DJ under clear protective cover. ivory clothbound spine with light blue metallic lettering stamped and spaced apart from publisher logo and boards clothbound in baby blue. neat, bright ivory endsheets. light ivory textblock, clear with no interior discoloration. 193 pp. ISBN # 9781596922341. Shelved Hardcover Fiction. Read more Show Less

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Your Body is Changing

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Overview

Fresh new hilarity from the author of The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure.

Glittering with mischief and perversity, Pushcart Prize — winner Jack Pendarvis’s latest collection introduces readers to a world of losers poised on the brink of all sorts of disaster – a world only a wink and a nod away from our own.

In the title novella a fundamentalist teenager must single-handedly confront the horrors of a spiritual quest filled with secular humanists, an apocalyptic folk artist, and a malfunctioning breast. The other stories deal poignantly with – among other things – a young millionaire pretending to be a detective, the good folks who invented the diarrhea-inducing chewing gum, and a tollbooth operator who becomes an impromptu drug mule.

Underlying each comedic gem and neurotic twist is an intelligence and empathy rarely found in modern satire. Like the best guidebooks, Your Body Is Changing will invite you in with its zany humor and indict you with its moving truths.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Pendarvis's second book (after The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure) sends up the mundane and extraordinary circumstances inflicted upon and by his misfit Southern eccentrics. His characters are quirky and grotesque, infuriating and hilarious, and his stories' unexpected twists are both impressive and thought provoking. In the title story, pubescent Henry lives with his mother and her uncle, attends a religious high school and is enmeshed in a brutal adolescence, marked by a visit from Jesus, a family medical emergency and a bizarre mission to New York with a former football coach. In "Lumber Land," the sole reporter of a small Alabama newspaper gets sucked into helping a private detective (also the scion of the publisher's family) follow a suspect deep into the woods. The slapstick use of the Heimlich maneuver sends Morton Fielding, the 72-year-old protagonist of "Outsiders," to the hospital. (Alabama residents and an errant nut are involved.) Though most stories are fantastically funny, "Courageous Blast," an oral history about the inventor of a chewing gum that has the unfortunate side effect of eating away stomach lining, is a stinker. Pendarvis hits the heart as often as the funny bone. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596922341
  • Publisher: MacAdam/Cage Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/31/2007
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Pendarvis lives in Atlanta. His writing has appeared in McSweeney's, The Believer and the Oxford American, and he is a contributing editor to Paste Magazine. His stories have been anthologized in the 2006 Pushcart Prize anthology and elsewhere. Your Body Is Changing is his second book.
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Read an Excerpt

Henry and his mother returned home from Wednesday-night prayer meeting to find an enormous owl eating sausage biscuits out of a torn sack on the kitchen counter. When they walked in the door, the owl turned its head all the way around on its neck and looked over at them just as calm as could be, and it was holding a biscuit in one set of talons, like a man eating half a sandwich.

“Uncle Lipton!” hollered Henry’s mom. Those were Uncle Lipton’s favorite biscuits, but Uncle Lipton was nowhere to be seen.

The owl knocked a whole slew of stuff off the counter as it craned and shook its broad wings. Henry’s mom went for the broom. She tried to tell Henry what to do but he became confused and ran screaming down the hall.

The owl took off after him, emitting a constant stream of silky yellow defecation, but the short and narrow hallway did not accommodate its wingspan. It lost control, destroyed a row of family photographs and barreled into Henry’s back. Henry fell on his chin, splitting about one inch of his tongue down the middle.

Henry rolled over to see the owl careen into the small, pale bathroom. It tore off the shower curtain and, wrapped and blinded, flew into the mirror on the medicine chest, smashing it into diamonds.

Henry scrambled up and shut the door.

“What have you done?” said Henry’s mother.

“Now it can’t get out,” said Henry.

“But we want it to get out,” said Henry’s mother.

Henry spat a great bit of blood onto the floor.

They found Uncle Lipton curled up in a cabinet under the kitchen sink, next to thebug spray and Mr. Clean. His eyes wouldn’t open all the way and he was humming a tune.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

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3 Star

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2 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I gave this one a few days to settle in... and all I'm left with

    I gave this one a few days to settle in...
    and all I'm left with is "Blech..."

    The writing is definitely not bad, but ... a lot of times it felt like I was going up a roller coaster... up, up, up.... up... up? i.e., I kept expecting something else to happen. something, anything type of thing.

    But there are a few gems.

    Story-by-Story:

    Lumber Land

    This one, I really liked. This one is the reason I read this book, despite pressing obligations otherwise. This is the best of the bunch. The characterization is great, the descriptions are vivid, the dialogue is convincing, the scenery is invasive. All good, recommend. It's dark and, since this is a book of short stories, I won't summarize.

    Outsiders

    This is one of those where I kept waiting for "it" to happen. There are good visualizations and decent characterization... but it sat still. If you like the type of "some stuff happened, and then some other stuff happened" fiction that is well-written? I imagine this book may be just perfect for you...



    Tollboth Confidential

    Ditto. And as I go back through these and write this review, I feel like there are a lot of good ideas for stories that could use a plot and more development. Good ideas. And then just ... plateaus...

    Courageous Blast

    This one is funny. Amusing, more than funny. The dialogue format worked for the message conveyed.

    The Train Going Back

    ... I have nothing productive to say.

    Roger Hill

    This one was ok... it didn't really *go* anywhere either, but I felt that a point was made in a unique way. I appreciated the perspective and, again, the visualization.

    Your Body is Changing

    yeah... the title piece. the raison d'etre ... blech. And this one is really where that comes from. Reviewing the book as a whole, I think Pendarvis deserves credit for his skill -- he paints a nice picture and creates realistic characters. This is not untrue of Your Body is Changing. It's just that, for the longest piece, the one that the rest built to... it was too much up-rollercoaster with no pay off. And it's hard because I don't feel that I can really pinpoint the problem. I liked certain characters. There were definitely points of interest. I liked the direction it began to go... and maybe that's just it. It began. Certain aspects could/should be fleshed out into a full novel. Or something. It might just be one of those where you WANT to like it, you WANT it to be good... but it just kind of... blechs.

    TWO and a HALF of five stars.

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    Posted January 24, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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