I have yet to read any of the New Bizarro Author Series of books. This isn’t because I think they aren’t potentially good (or even great) books, it’s just that my time in incredibly valuable, and I’m barely literate as is, so IF I’m going to take the time to stammer my way through a story, I want to know ahead of time that I’m probably going to enjoy the next three weeks of reading… which is why I tend to stick with established authors and books with good ratings. Just because I haven’t read the other New Bizarro Author Series books, though, doesn’t mean I’ve ignored them- they SOUND great, based on their titles; Bucket of Face, Avoiding Mortimer, The Egg Said Nothing, Love in the Time of Dinosaurs… and though these all sound totally interesting (and I will get around to them), G. Arthur Brown’s Kitten has this diminutive, innocuous title that is wholly intriguing compared to other books in the genre. “Kitten.” Is it a story about a kitten? I don’t know! It’s like the Holy Grail in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” all unassuming but full of power. It kicked my interest in the face and made me take notice.
The great thing about Bizarro stories is that they can take you anywhere, they can do anything, and they don’t have to conform to standard models of storytelling, which is one of the main reasons I love them. Can I talk about Kitten without giving anything away? I’m not sure, but I can try. The story held my attention, and G. Arthur Brown created a world in which anything weird or strange feels very natural to me. This is imperative to my enjoyment of anything in this genre, and absolutely important to me when dealing with anything Weird. In fact, I’m constantly talking about how crucial it is for Weirdness to be Authentic- it’s something channeled from a Source by Prophets. Forced weirdness, “look how random and weird I am,” is a major turnoff.
There are a lot of great moments in this story, too. I especially loved the advertisement and the children’s story and birthdays before a birth day and the TV shows… but again, I don’t want to spoil anything. Brown incorporates a good mix of interesting storytelling, absurdity, comedy, Bizarro-ness, colorful characters, and some fantastic ideas into a slim book that feels thicker than it is- in an entirely good way. I get the sense that this is his first book-length story, but not that he’s a first-time writer. Far from it- he seems to have good control over his writing. If this is his first attempt at a book, I think there’s a great deal of impending potential in Brown’s work, and I hope we get to see more of it soon.