February 13, 2015
The Poser by Jacob Rubin
Giovanni has never known his father but has been especially close with his mother. So much so, that even into his adult life she runs the show and he returns to her home every night after being a ticket collector. But Giovanni does have one talent. Or maybe not a talent but an innate trait that he was born with. He can imitate anyone. And he can do it fairly quickly upon meeting them. He just has to find what he calls, "their thread" and that allows him to unravel a whole person, see them for who they are, and do an impression. So when he's discovered, it's this trait that bursts him into stardom and places not even his mama imagined he would go.
I did not like Giovanni's mother. I thought that in the beginning she was necessary, but that her latter actions in the story were just to help move it along and cause a bit of strife. Her personality and wants for Giovanni seem to shift and I can't say that I ever really got a definite hold on her motivations. But she is the one person Giovanni doesn't need to imitate. I also thought that Lucy was a great character and was swept aside too quickly for playing such a pivotal person in Giovanni's life. But maybe that's show biz eh? Giovanni himself is all characters and none. He wasn't really supposed to have his own personality (although he kind of does) and instead mirrors everything around him (which is insinuated in the book with the usage of mirrors).
I'm not sure what I was expecting when I read the description of the book. I thought it would be about an imitator who is so caught up in other people that he forgets his own personality, but this book has Giovanni have no personality of his own from the beginning, not something that he would lose. I did think that the initial break into show business and all of the details of the stage and people and really the first half of the book were slow paced and I didn't enjoy it. But I am glad that I persevered because I did enjoy the second half of the book. I liked Giovanni's descent into something he didn't fully understand and his exploration of a different set of people. It seemed more authentic and less gaudy, which may have been the author's intent for all I know. I do have to warn for the casual reader that the book can get a bit raunchy at times. And by raunchy I mean there was a sleazier part of Giovanni's life and Rubin describes them fully. So if you're looking for something light and comedic I would say that this book instead falls into the category of dark and not so much comedic as an exploration of humanness.
Hard to start, slow to continue, but by the end it will be hard to put down. I'd recommend this book and would probably check out other novels that Rubin will write.
**This book was received through the Amazon Vine Program**