Review: Mother Fucking Flowers

Mother Fucking FlowersMother Fucking Flowers by Tammy L. Witzens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Let me begin by saying that I enjoyed this book. I won it as part of Goodreads’ FirstReads program. The title looked insane and so did the description; the subject of many an Internet joke and comic strip: if you could go back in time, should you kill Hitler? The Aeon Flux-looking woman on the cover was interesting as well. Unfortunately, I was delayed by a couple weeks in getting the package because I had a business trip. When I did get the book, I was amazed at how thin the package is. Other than, perhaps, The God Engines, this is shortest book I’ve read in a long time.

Perhaps that’s why I was getting worried as the plot seemed to be accelerating towards a climax, not resolving itself within the last 10 pages. There’s a reason for this. Sometimes people like to read the last page of a novel before they dive in; I used to do that when I was younger. Don’t do that with this one, it’ll more or less ruin the point of the book.

A few more points before I get into spoiler territory: The book is written in an almost stream of consciousness/almost Douglas Adams styles that sometimes works beautifully and sometimes derails the book for me. It shows how smart Adams was to deploy the narrative device of the Hitchhiker’s Guide within the eponymous book. Because we aren’t in Daisy’s head. We do have an omniscient narrator who knows what she’s thinking, but the interruptions without the frame of someone telling a story or the guide is a little jarring at times.

As a bit of proof that nothing in life is ever as simple as it seems with an Internet campaign or slogan, although this book is written by a woman, there appears to be more mention of “male gaze” things like breasts than “female gaze” things. Or maybe breasts are both? I don’t know. It struck me a bit as odd, but I’ve really only started to truly learn about these things in the past few years.

OK, spoiler time.

(view spoiler)

In the end it all worked out perfectly as a novella because it turned out to be the dream of a Daisy – the flower. It explains why everyone was “Daisy” – male or female – and why sex with another Daisy was neither masturbation nor incest and produced a seed. It explains why the science kept getting weirder and why the circus scene didn’t make sense. It also explains the heroine’s lackadaisical attitude (probably at least partially a pun) and the wonky physics. When you look at it all as a combination of a dream and a life lesson (which is the title name drop), it is beautiful as well as being one of those “the journey’s the important bit” books. But this as the basis of a whole universe? I don’t think I can quite suspend my disbelief like this for another book. Then again, maybe Ms Witzens has some way that’ll come out of left field and make it work.

(hide spoiler)]

In the end, while this is very obviously a first novel (the style has hints of being amazing tangled with the awkwardness of the new and there are some weird spelling and grammar errors that especially mess things up because she has some puns in there so it’s important not to confuse homophones), it is a good first novel (or, more properly, novella). I hope lots of people pick it up and enjoy it so Ms Witzens can create more novels and work that storytelling muscle. Based on the kernel of what she has in this book really gripping me (I was dying to get to the end of the book – it was killing me that I was only reading it while walking between offices at work) and the humor mostly working – I think I can see myself really becoming a fan as she matures as a writer. As I said recently in a review of another writer early in his career – I’ve tried to be a creative storyteller time and again and I know it’s extremely hard. Even the best writers get harsh critics telling them they’re washed up; how much harder for the newbie who’s working on his/her style? So I always appreciate when someone goes out on a limb and puts their creative work out there. Also, as a person, Ms Witzens really did something special by writing a personal inscription in my copy of the book. That’s the sign of an author who truly cares. That’s the kind of author that deserves support.

View all my reviews

Author: Eric Mesa

To find out a little more about me, see About Me