Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles by Ron Currie, Jr. © 2013, Viking
The title refers to nicotine patches, and I don’t know why Currie selected this very minor plot detail to name the book after. For the first hundred pages, I thought Flimsy might end up being an A+ novel. It dealt philosophy about love, death, and the perfection of mankind through the theoretical ‘singularity.’ I was engrossed at how these subjects were going to mesh in this tale about a struggling author.
After the second hundred pages, I grew worried that Currie wasn’t going to tie any of these subjects together, as each continued to chart its own individual course. The unexpected twist to the story (spoiler) was the main character faking his death after a failed suicide and becoming a famous writer posthumously. This farfetched twist was, unfortunately, where the novel fell apart for me. It signaled the end of the somewhat interesting, contentious relationship between the two main characters and the end of whatever affection I had for them to that point. The philosophical points never did seem to mesh.
What worked throughout the novel was Currie’s physical presentation of the words, short unlabeled “chapters” of anywhere from a paragraph to a couple of pages. This formatting, where every next section looks quickly readable, kept me turning pages. However, you don’t want a book’s best aspect to be its chaptering.
I never felt the main characters changed much or accomplished much, so it was hard to care about the weird things they put themselves through. The character I liked best was the author’s short-term girlfriend, Charlotte, but she disappeared around half way. Flimsy just didn’t stand up, but Plastic can always be recycled.