Verdict: Hard to put down, addictively simple, FREAKS I’VE MET is a strange beach read for those just starting out in life.
Hilariously vulgar and deceptively entertaining, FREAKS I’VE MET follows the unusual adventures of a new graduate as he seeks his fame and fortune.
The year is 1987. The place, at least for the moment, is Spokane, Washington. Freshly graduated, Jack Fitzpatrick grabs his last paycheck and loads up his car. Jack heads to the fame-inundated Southern California to carve himself a piece of the pie. Except life has other plans for him. Dead end job after dead end job stack up behind him, eccentric characters, and a dwindling money supply drive Jack toward desperation. That is until he discovers the morally suspect world of bond brokers. As things begin to look up, life once again crashes back down on him. Will Jack find his bliss and more importantly, his desired millions?
FREAKS I’VE MET is a dramatic tale following a man-child to maturity, but it does so with aplomb. Jans writes with an unabashedly vulgar tone, perfectly appropriate to Jack’s character. However, the vulgarity tends more toward the humorous side. This lends the story the feel of a cautionary tale hidden within Jack’s simple quest for money and respect. The titular freaks Jack meets are somewhat flat characters, mainly due to their flaws and eccentricities highlighted for dramatic effect. Jack however features some interesting character development as he deals with a traumatic car crash, a childhood pet mystery, and his increasing desire to find love. The prose is fairly simple, but that works for this story. It’s easily accessible and surprisingly addicting. Jack’s journey takes him through rough parts, but always with a thick veneer of dark humor.
The book could benefit from a round or two of editing. Some inconsistent formatting and spelling/grammar errors don’t completely interrupt the story. However, with a bit of polish FREAKS I’VE MET could become a cult classic for the newly graduated generation. It has all the hallmarks with strange characters, scathing writing, cautionary subtext, and dark humor. Albeit a quick read, it is fun and full of laugh out loud moments including a horribly stained couch and the overzealous landlady. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is an interesting story.
Jack’s roller coaster ride through the world of 1980s finance is coarse, crude, and a shot of obscene fun. The characters are outlandishly weird with irritating quirks that make it easy to root for Jack.
Hard to put down, addictively simple, FREAKS I’VE MET is a strange beach read for those just starting out in life.
A newer version of this title has been released since the posting of this review.