cover image Your Body Is Changing: Stories

Your Body Is Changing: Stories

Jack Pendarvis, Author . MacAdam/Cage $23 (193p) ISBN 978-1-59692-191-7

Pendarvis's second book (after The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure ) sends up the mundane and extraordinary circumstances inflicted upon and by his misfit Southern eccentrics. His characters are quirky and grotesque, infuriating and hilarious, and his stories' unexpected twists are both impressive and thought provoking. In the title story, pubescent Henry lives with his mother and her uncle, attends a religious high school and is enmeshed in a brutal adolescence, marked by a visit from Jesus, a family medical emergency and a bizarre mission to New York with a former football coach. In "Lumber Land," the sole reporter of a small Alabama newspaper gets sucked into helping a private detective (also the scion of the publisher's family) follow a suspect deep into the woods. The slapstick use of the Heimlich maneuver sends Morton Fielding, the 72-year-old protagonist of "Outsiders," to the hospital. (Alabama residents and an errant nut are involved.) Though most stories are fantastically funny, "Courageous Blast," an oral history about the inventor of a chewing gum that has the unfortunate side effect of eating away stomach lining, is a stinker. Pendarvis hits the heart as often as the funny bone. (May)