White Rabbit by Stuart Oldfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
White Rabbit by Stuart Oldfield starts off as most books do introducing the main character which is Simon Cadwallader and setting the location. The story starts off innocent enough and we learn it is Simon's birthday and he is visiting his young daughter at his ex-wife's house. His daughter has a white rabbit that she named Loofah which is kept in the yard although Simon did see it in the house or at least he thought he did. Simon leaves the house feeling really down and pulls over at the side of the road and this is where the story becomes strange.
It reminds me of the story of Alice in Wonderland when she fell into the rabbit hole only this altered reality would make Sigmund Freud blush. When I first came to this part, I was ready to put the book down never to pick it up again. All the while I was wondering what kind of drugs the author was on because this 'world' had to be the side effects of some really powerful stuff. I figured I would read just a little more to see if it gets any better and to my surprise I found myself really drawn into this strange world where Simon can't remember where he was going or even his name. The only name he can remember is Loofah and he thinks that this is his name. I wasn't turned off by the strangeness any longer instead I rather enjoyed the author's imagination and his beautiful use of words. He describes these places in great detail although it was never boring nor was it an overkill of details. In other words it didn't stall the story yet it was enough so I can actually 'see' the place and the happenings as I read. His knowledge and use of words grabbed my attention and I envy his ability to write with such passion.
In this world the road signs have letters swimming about them but not spelling anything and have to be coaxed to do their job and tell him which town is which way, dogs that talk and dress in uniforms, plants that want sex and molest you if you stand in one place too long and so much more. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the situations that Loofah finds himself in because among all this weirdness where nothing is what it seems the author had the ability to include a lot of humor. My favorites are the scene at the cinema when he wanted to see a movie and the sign said Aliens 1 and Aliens 2 now playing (I swear that ticket girl is my mother) and also the computer that talked to him, egged him on, badgered him the whole time then tried to bite him with the keyboard. (I told you this place was weird). These were just in the beginning of the book. There are pages and pages of humorous situations as well as sexual ones. It amazes me the way the author can make going to the gas station for gas such a hot and sensual experience.
The whole time Loofah was in this strange place he was looking for the way out to go back to the life he had forgotten. He learns that he is like a chess piece in a game that is being played only he cannot tell right away who is friend and who is foe. He has a task to do although it is not clear at the beginning and he is told he must complete the task in order to go home. On this quest he encounters others but can't tell who is telling the truth and trying to help him and who is trying to do him in. Everyone poses as being helpful, but it seems he never gets a straight answer just 'riddles' (for lack of a better term) that he needs to figure out who or what they are, such as; 'Two Sides of the Same Coin' and 'The Woman who looks both ways'. As the story progresses more and more becomes clear although Loofah encounters other strange creatures and the danger intensifies despite his determination to go home.
Once I got use to the 'weirdness' of this universe which was shortly after Loofah 'arrived' in this place, I really loved the book. I admit it is really long since it is four books in one (Book 1: The One Who Is Two, Book 2: Friends and Enemies, Book 3: Red Tape, Book 4: Woman Who Looks Both Ways) so it is far from a quick read. I would recommend this to adults only due to the sexual content and the language. Hats off to the author for such a great story.
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