Friday, September 26, 2014

Review: "Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?" by Lorrie Moore

A major pitfall in any piece of flash fiction, or one that I find in a lot of it that I come across, is that it never allows enough time for a true emotional experience. It can be profound, funny, and even moving given the subject matter and caliber of the writer, but that feeling is a fleeting one that doesn’t last very long. That same kind of feeling came over me when I was reading Lorrie Moore’s brief novel Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? Despite the catchy title, there is very little to chew on in this book’s 147-page length. But delving deeper in the story the same problem presents itself. It is too quick to doll out cool phrases that sound even cooler when you say them out loud, but sound silly and pretentious when you try to put them together. The plot is simple, if you really want to argue that it has one. The main character, Berie, is on vacation in Paris with her husband when she begins to recall her time spent in the early 70’s with her friend Sils as they both worked at an amusement park. We learn of Sils burgeoning sexuality, which leads to a relationship with a nefarious man, and later, and abortion that forces Berie to steal from the amusement park. We also learn of Berie’s chaotic home life, and later, her abusive relationship with her husband, leading to her deciding at the end of her novel that some things you can’t change and some things you can’t stop from changing. There was very little in this book I found interesting, as I did Anagrams, her other famous novel. She rights well about desperation and failure, but doesn’t seem interested in anything else but these emotions filtered into their purest form, and sometimes, at least for me, that is a bit hard to swallow even in small quantities.

Rating: 3/5

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