A Novel

Book - 2009
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Stripmalling is the story of one young man's embarrassing and hilarious journey to literary awareness. Jonny lives and works in a strip mall in suburban Winnipeg. For some people, this would be an exciting and fulfilling life. But Jonny has a dream: he wants to be a writer. He has almost everything he needs to make this dream come true: a supportive girlfriend, an active imagination, and an abundance of subject matter. There is only one obstacle: his own relentless stupidity. Imagine Proust without all those annoying words and insights. Imagine a book so funny, so clever that even just touching it makes you a smarter, better person. Part journal, part comedy routine, and part graphic novel, Stripmalling is a unique experiment in genre and voice that is ambitious, accessible and laugh-out-loud funny. Parts of Stripmalling have appeared on CBC Radio One's All in a Weekend and in THIS Magazine, filling Station, Word, Event, Matrix, sub-Terrain, and Opium.

Publisher: Toronto, Ont. : ECW Press, c2009.
ISBN: 9781550228595
Characteristics: 178 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.


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Oct 14, 2014

I heard about this book on CBC and the reviewer (I forget who) was raving about it. Umm, maybe I didn't "get" it, but it is awful. Just some 1-3 page ramblings about growing up in Winnipeg. And the graphic novel parts just rehash the story from a couple pages before. The only good thing about it is that it is short. I couldn't disagree with the library-provided description more.

Aug 16, 2009

I really wanted to like this book. The idea has promise, that of taking a fairly commonplace central story - guy with dead end job in what he feels is a town that stymies his creativity aspires to be a writer - and blowing out the walls by approaching it from conventional text, graphic novel, workshopped screenplay and multiple perspectives. But the reality is that it's a thin story with no really interesting characters or fresh insights, especially on the encroachment of big box corporate concerns, which we all know suck the life out of small towns - but didn't the author already think his town sucked?. The different stylistic renderings just feel like gratuitous padding and short attention span noodling. But I feel a bit insulted as a reader, because *I* don't have a short attention span if he wants to try to stick with his story and explore it in more depth.

The well-illustrated graphic novel portions feel especially wasted because they look great, but add nothing to the story. Is the workshopped bit with the clueless handwritten edits supposed to draw the reader in on the joke, whatever that is? Yeah, I get it, but again it doesn't add anything new to the central story.

Fiorentino can at least be commended, I suppose, for writing what he apparently knows. I'm not sure if I'm interested in checking back when/if he tries to legitimately stretch himself as a writer.


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