Review| Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory

Book Review for Spoonbenders by Daryl GregoryOh, this book! There is so much to talk about, and yet I don’t want to give anything away. I want you to have the pleasure of discovering it on your own, without anyone’s opinion floating through your head as you read. Weirdly, my recommendation is don’t read my review. Instead, go read this book, before you hear anything else about it. When you’re done, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

If you’ve stuck around this long, perhaps you’re hankering for the full review. Since you insist…

The Amazing Telemachus family used to be famous, or nearly famous, until their family act was identified a scam during a televised performance. At the start of the story, Matty (grandson of the eldest surviving Telemachus), is on the verge of understanding his own burgeoning powers. Matty is eager to uncover the truth about his family, but can’t get direct answers from his relatives. His mother, Irene, does everything she can to shield her son from the stories of her upbringing. Matty’s Uncle Buddy refuses to talk most days, and busies himself with odd home renovations. Matty’s grandfather is a stylish con artist who spends his time picking up women in grocery stores, and has mastered the art of evading questions. Matty’s Uncle Frankie seems willing to take him under his wing, but such guidance comes at a cost. Curiously, the family may have ties to the mob, and it’s possible a van full of government agents are watching the house.

What more can I say? I feel like the synopsis is enough to entice you.

Spoonbenders is a complete delight. The characters are quirky, and dysfunctional in a comic, lovable way. The story jumps around a little, dipping into memories from the Telemachus family past, yet the flashbacks never feel like a disruption to the main plot; they always serve to move the story forward. I was constantly questioning what was going on; what would happen next. The story managed to remain a mystery until the very end.

Gregory’s writing is fantastic – he pulls you completely into the world of the Telemachus family. He writes a unique and compelling plot using a stellar vocabulary perfectly suited to the ambiance of the novel. The very title of the book is a great example. Spoon bending refers to a style of stage magic, that some people in the 70’s claimed they achieved via psychic energy. Don’t let Gregory fool you, for under the surface of this incredibly funny book lies thoughtful, intentional, captivating, writing. Spoonbenders easily claims its spot in my top 5 reads this year.

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