It Came from Below the Belt by Bradley Sands
A Keith Dugger Review
THIS BOOK IS THE autobiography of one Bradley Sands. I guarantee it. No, wait. This book is the result of Sands taking his autobiography, shredding it in a blender mixed with pus gathered from pimples on the back of a steroid-pumped yard gnome catcher, and taking the pieces and gluing them back together in an odd sort of magazine-art ransom note (surreally asking for permission to cut you in places you’d rather not mention. Or remember.). Mix in a few genital-shaped suckers (yes, candy), a talking penis and time travel and you have only scratched the surface of It Came from Below the Belt. Wash your hands, though. That stuff is contagious.
Sprinkle in an intermission that allows the reader to choose his or her own adventure (i.e. If you are bored, go to the end of this review. If not, continue reading.). And, no matter what you do, how hard you try, you will read page 75. The laws of order and physics and plush toy innards don’t apply.
From the cover snippet:
“Meet Grover Goldstein: Twenty-First Century rascal, trainee provocateur, boy next door who won’t stop snickering at you from behind the lawn gnome. Swallowed by a giraffe and regurgitated oodles of years into the future, Grover must satisfy his urge to go home–even if it means going back to high school and helping his severed, and sentient, penis win the presidential election”
Sands etches the outline of the main character with an absurdist’s precision, yet Grover developed and grew quietly on his own into a complex protagonist when Sands wasn’t looking. The author’s style shores the foundation of the young genre that is Bizarro, sets the story squarely within its boundaries, but is still able to push the envelope, morphing it into something more. Something better.
Readers are even presented with a TV script for a sitcom. Sound effects included.
SFX: DISTANT BRAIN EXPLOSION
This isn’t a new book (Afterbirth Books published it in 2006), but it is still a fresh read and a book that I’ve read through three times. I learn something new about it each time. Though, reading It Came from Below the Belt while listening to Rob Zombie B-sides made we want to dust myself in Tang and roll naked down a hill of rabbit feet. So, be warned.