By: Daryl Gregory
My Review: Three out of Five Stars
Best for: Adults only
Once, we were Amazing.
Meet The Telemachus family: Teddy’s a slick talking charmer of a card shark who can con anyone for anything. He’s so good, in fact, he tricks a university professor looking for psychics into thinking he actually IS one, just so he can meet Maureen, who REALLY is. They get married, and ala The Incredibles, have slick talking kids with psychic abilities. Spoonbenders is set mostly in 1995 when Maureen has died, Teddy is old, the kids are grown and have their own children. There are some great mid-nineties running jokes throughout, and it was fun to catch them. (Remember when we used to get AOL CD’s in the mail all the time?). The story is told through multiple flashbacks and multiple points of view, but it’s all handled skillfully so I never felt lost or confused.
In the 70’s, Teddy and Maureen took their act on the road, and for a brief time they were “The Amazing Telemachus Family.” The Telemachus Family of 1995 most certainly NOT amazing. Their psychic powers are more burden than blessing, and between debts to the Mob, failed romantic relationships, and their inability to hold down jobs, this family is a MESS.
I expected a fun, goofy story about a slightly dysfunctional family of psychics who once were amazing but now…are not. I didn’t expect to find a fun, goofy story with so much heart, and I definitely didn’t expect a clever story with some great twists, fun surprises, and lots to cheer for.
I also didn’t expect to find more f-bombs than…what? Zits on a teenager? Warts on a frog? Hairs on a witche’s mole? Stripes on a zebra? Any other book I’ve read?
Obviously I’m not psychic, or I probably wouldn’t have picked the book up at all.
If not for the language, this probably would have been a five-star read for me. I loved the colorfully layered characters, the perfectly creative story, and the unexpectedly happy ending. If you’re comfortable with grown up content in a grown up book, then I bet you’ll really enjoy Spoonbenders. It’s packed full of laughs, heart, and fun. And f-bombs.
There’s some sexual content too. Adults only.