A few of us at the library got suckered into reading Adam Ross’s Mr. Peanut based largely on its favorable review in the New York Times. We might have been wise to take in the preponderance of other reviews, which are peppered with the often intentionally ambiguous adjectives “ambitious,” “inspired,” and “unique.”
Indeed, Mr. Peanut is a complex piece of crime writing that incorporates a mind-boggling number of themes, red herrings and alternate endings. Into a story about a marriage gone horribly wrong, it attempts to meaningfully integrate themes such as game theory, the art of M.C. Escher, the tyranny of peanut allergies, our country’s love affair with unsolved crime (á la Dr. Richard Kimble), office romance, troubled marriages, infertility, and body image issues (to name a few).
Last month the nation celebrated banned books week, and that list of books is certainly characterized by mixed reviews. Can you think of others? Even though a few of us at the library didn’t like Mr. Peanut, you might. How often are book critics right? Well, that’s for YOU to decide.