King of the Perverts
By Steve Lowe
You may ask yourself, how am I in this situation?
……and yes, gentle reader, make no mistake, you will ask yourself that, probably more than once, in the few hours it takes to read King of the Perverts. The premise of the novel is fairly repugnant: average-guy Dennis, reeling in the wake of a divorce, the loss of his job, and the at-the-hospital revelation that his ex-wife Carrie’s child is most definitively not his, has nothing left to lose, except maybe his dignity. And you won’t have to wait long for him to lose that too. Dennis answers a shady newspaper ad calling for extras and finds himself cast in a reality TV show (all too believable, I might add) called King of the Perverts. If Dennis can make his way through ten increasingly filthy sex acts, he wins a million dollars. To add to the ethical quandary of the challenges, the probably-Russian-mobster cameraman isn’t letting him back out of the competition, even when Dennis’ morals kick in.
The premise and writing style are akin to Paul Neilan’s Apathy and Other Small Victories or Diablo Cody’s Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper; the subject matter is not entirely dissimilar to John Waters’s Pink Flamingos and A Dirty Shame tossed together into a blender. If you’re into the oddball or the bizarro, it can be a rather fun read. If you’re squeamish at all or have somehow missed the more awful corner of the Internet where Goatse lives, this is one you might want to skip. If you’re curious what the ten challenges are, be prepared to Google a few (NSFW, but I’m sure that goes without saying). Word of warning: they’re ALL REAL THINGS, and like Goatse, the Blue Waffle, or Two Girls, One Cup, some things can never be unseen.*
Underneath the crudeness of the sex acts, the morally grey area of people humiliating themselves and others for the benefit of “reality TV,” and the ofttimes off-putting manner in which women are described, there’s actually a decent story at work. Dennis’s anger and disappointment at his failed marriage and the college degree he never finished bubble beneath the surface and help the reader empathize with a character that they might otherwise dislike. His guilt over how he treats Danielle (the alligator fuckhouse challenge) and his inability to believe that Tricia (the golden shower) might actually want to see him again outside of a cheap hotel room give the reader a glimpse into a man who’s trying to be more than the sum of his failures or conquests. Dennis is grappling with his own debasement, while at the same time attempting not to debase the women of his challenges, despite that being the objective of the TV show. In a generation of The Real World, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Flavor of Love, and Bad Girls, it’s all too conceivable that a show like King of the Perverts just might end up on the air, and we’d all be a little worse off for it. But that’s kind of the point.
Overall, by the novel’s end, there seems to be a little hope left for Dennis — and for the reader, too. Not a bad way to pass a couple of hours, but be prepared to put it down a few times and wonder to yourself, “What the fuck did I just read? Is that even real?” Trust me. It is. And it’s probably best not to Google it to make sure.
*Bookshelf Bombshells assumes no responsibility if you are foolish enough to Google any of the aforementioned things and, in fact, we recommend you search for pictures of kittens instead.
Buy It if your tastes run towards the strange and you’re not easily nauseated by sex acts involving bodily functions (aside from the obvious one). Borrow It via ebook and hide it on your reader if you’re intrigued but don’t want people to think you’rethe King of the Perverts.
King of the Perverts
$10.95 (softcover), 120 pages