Thursday, January 10, 2008


By Jeremy C. Shipp
Raw Dog Screaming Press
158 pages

Beware of books that make you think too much. The end result being a headache. VACATION by Jeremy Shipp supposedly has a plot but calling it that is like saying the trail through the woods behind your house is a really a super highway. The so called story here is really a gimmick to play with your mind. And that it does in every conceivable way possible.

When I came home from Vietnam in 1968 I was shoved into college by an adult friend who wanted me to get an education. The cultural shock of college life following immediately on the heels of Army life was mind-boggling to say the least and somehow I ended up a philosophy major. Ha. Until I got in my Volkswagon Beetle two years later, drove off campus and never looked back.

So what’s all this have to do with Shipp’s book. Nothing, except every now and then the mind can become constipated. Consider the million bits of data that bombard it daily and the task it has to filter through all of that to shape reality. When giving blood at local Red Cross Drives, I was made to believe that depleting the body’s blood by a pint was a positive thing as it forced it to make more, newer cells. Likewise books like VACATION are very much a strong enema that sweeps through the attic of one’s mind like a strong, fresh and clean wind. Bringing it with a much needed sweeping out of the old.

This is a book about ideas and it is not for everyone. Believe me, if you enjoy traditional stories that have a clear and lucid beginning, middle and end, avoid VACATION like the very plague. It truly is not for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy having your intellect stimulated, shaken up and toyed with in a deft, literate fashion (Shipp can write, make no mistake on that front), then I urge you to find this little gem and have at it. You may be just as confused when you’ve finished it as I was. But you also may be tickled pink with the mental adventure of it all.

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