Disclaimer: I was sent this book free of charge by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis (from amazon)
Irving Podolsky is a nice Jewish boy looking for a nice Jewish girl and a job out of college which would, Irv hopes, make the world a better place. But when our hero’s food supply dwindles down to a slab of Velveeta and a jar of pickles, our lad takes his only job offer: directing pornographic movies. This leads to a night shift gig in a mental hospital, only to have that be replaced by the lowest rung in food service, which drives Irv so bonkers his mind ejects out of his body to the Other Side. Irv’s Odyssey is a humorous quest for love, truth and the meaning of life while lost in alternate life styles, a psychedelic drug culture and the free-love of the seventies. Lost in a Looking Glass starts the journey.
I’ve been putting off this review a little, mainly because I’m confused as how to categorise it. Irv H. Podolsky isn’t actually a real person, but he is the alter-ego of a person who is involved in the film industry- whose name is a secret. So is it an autobiography? A novel with autobiographic content? Or just the imagining of a creative mind? I wasn’t even sure how to approach it as a reader, but I’m going to review it as a novel.
I liked the tone of this book a lot. Irv’s voice was very believable and conversational. Actually his tone reminded me a lot of Lucy in the Sky, or maybe the setting has biased me?
As far as a drug culture and psychedelic elements were concerned, honestly I didn’t notice them a great deal. Irv did seem to be smoking weed a lot, or sometimes complaining that he couldn’t but it was more in the story than part of it, like a smoker would light a cigarette, it had n real significance.
There was also only one scene I would really call psychedelic, and that didn’t really fit in with the story either. There were also times where Irv talked about seeing lines and feeling spaced out, but they just made me want to tell him he needed migraine treatment- they sounded so similar to my migraine experiences!
It didn’t really matter to me whether there was a psychedelic/drug element to the story however, so finding little of it didn’t disappoint me.
When I decided to read this book I did think I would find the porn section most interesting. Not because I wanted to read something erotic (I wouldn’t imagine behind the scenes in porn is actually that erotic) but because I was interested to see how someone outside his comfort zone would cope with it. I think that was covered well, and the (possible) social and technical sides of porn were interesting to read about. Poor Irv though, it really wasn’t the place for him.
So that’s how he ended up working mental hospital- something he never intended to do. In the end this was actually the bit I found most interesting. It was rather sad in a way to read about these ‘kids’. Especially as a lot of those who cared for them didn’t really seem to want to be there. I think it was my psychological background which made this part of the novel most interesting for me- although it contained little real psychology.
I can certainly identify with this book. I can think of few of my university friends who are now in graduate jobs which they trained for, and most of those who are needed further training. Whilst I love my job it’s certainly not what my aim was when I went to uni- I’m still working up to that masters!
Overall I did enjoy the book, and I would be interested to read at least the next book in the series To the Light and Beyond
One little warning I would give is that this book does contain a lot of sex, it’s not very graphic but those who don’t like sex in books may not enjoy that element.
If you have read this book comment with a link to your review and I will add it here