“Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles: A Novel”
by Ron Currie, Jr.
read by Jake Hart
Published by Penguin Audio
Listening Length: 8 hours and 6 minutes
I’m really not sure what attracts me to these mopey, bitter stories of accidental success, but by gosh and by golly they are fun to hear. Okay I guess that was a bit of a spoiler, so, sorry, but the telling of this story is what makes it interesting and worth the investment not the final outcome, which I haven’t really given that away, yet.
The story behind this novel which may or may not be true, is that the writer, Ron can’t seem to cut a break. In a tale told through a drunken haze with a story that is not unlike those told by Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahnuik, Adam Davies or even some Hunter S. Thompson. A little bit of the bizarre thrown in with some real life emotions and that’s what sucks you in to this plunge into the darker side of an author’s mind.
Ron, the character in the book, just cannot catch a break. To start things out the woman he loves does not love him back. This woman, Emma, is willing to see him as a friend and actually a friend with benefits. They do have sex on occasion, but the sex is a combination of love-making and boxing matches. Emma has constantly eluded him and when her house is burned down after a divorce, the burning house contains the latest manuscript Ron has been trying to finish, Ron decides to escape. Throw in the recent death of Ron’s father and this leads to Ron relocating to a tropical island where he soaks his grief in rum and picks fights with the locals, all while writing about his love of Emma.
Eventually Ron drinks himself into a stupor, writes a suicide note and tries to take his own life by driving off a pier into the ocean. Notice I say, “tries.” He wakes up on a beach with the tides and currents washing him out of his car and ashore. Heading to a bar after being on the beach a day or so, he wants to start his drinking again. When no one recognizes him, Ron decides this is the time to make a fresh start, acquiring forged documents he makes for himself a new identity and leaves society behind to be alone in the desert of Egypt.
In his absence from the world his suicide note goes viral thanks to a probing reporter and the manuscript he was working on gets published. The world soon becomes enthralled with Ron Currie and his love story. Many people commit suicide, all pushed by the love that never can be and Ron’s heartfelt story. All this happens without Ron knowing. He is, after all, living a secluded life in the desert working for a small restaurant catering to tourists. After some time of trying to find himself by either floating in the Red Sea or seeking solitude in the desert, Ron finds some peace but can never shake the love that can never be.
After some time Ron is discovered and deported back stateside. Upon arrival he finds not a welcoming fan base to his new best-seller but a country mad at him for deceiving them, he’s supposed to be dead. This brings out massive lawsuits and Ron is forced to defend himself and his actions. The problem is, he can’t, he feels responsible for the suicides and feels he should be punished.
Without rewriting the entire book in this review, that pretty much sums it up, but there is so much more. This book, to borrow an idea from “Shrek,” is like an onion, many, many layers. Well worth the time reading but even more worth the time listening. The book is written in first person from Ron’s viewpoint and the reader, Jake Hart, does a superb job representing the angst and anger from the author’s life.