Thursday, September 3, 2009

Review: The Sum of His Syndromes by K.B.Dixon

About the Book from

“This is a strangely, enigmatic novel, which is kind of addictive, the story of a young man on the cusp of something . . . With passages that are so well turned they can be called lyrical—and others that are laugh out loud funny. This is the kind of book where we see a bit of ourselves and grimace—but keep reading.” —A.M. Homes

The Sum of His Syndromes is a wry, odd, idiosyncratic book. A collage of notes written in a sixth-floor men’s room, it is the story of a dissatisfied, slightly disturbed young man named David who has found himself at a personal and professional crossroads. He has a job he hates, but cannot leave, and a girl he loves, but cannot fully understand. With help from his friend, Peter, and his therapist, the irrepressible Dr. Costa, he struggles to make sense of his complicated young life.

A fractured, fragmented, unconventional narrative, Syndromes offers a comic look at office angst, contemporary psychiatric practice and romantic uncertainty.

A conglomeration of thoughts, observations, commentary, overheard conversations and cameo appearances, its story—David and Kate’s story emerges surreptitiously from this innovative presentation of a confused and chaotic time.

This little (126 pages) novel is a first-hand collection of observations told by a young man named David as he sits in the men's room at work.
Through his comments we learn about David's relationships with his therapist Dr. C., co-workers, best friend Peter, and girlfriend Kate.

Almost like reading someone's journal, I followed along David's commentary,
often funny, sometimes sad, and I began to wonder if this was all leading to some psychological break-through for him or, maybe he was just going to go "postal" one day.

He clearly hates his job and loves Kate.
He's also very insecure in his relationship with her.
He refuses to let his therapist prescribe antidepressants for him, and one senses that he is in fact, waiting for some sort of epiphany that will give meaning to everything.
Or,(to quote Jack Nicholson's character Melvin Udall from the movie,) "What if this is as good as it gets."

Overall, I found this book to be an engaging, quick, and quirky read.
My thanks to Michael from Academy Chicago Publishers for my review copy.

About the Author from
K.B. Dixon’s work has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers and journals. The recipient of an OAC Individual Artist Fellowship Award, he is the author of Andrew (A to Z), a novel, and My Desk and I, a collection of short stories.

1 comment:

Nina said...

Thank you for your review! I never heard of this book before, but it sounds really good.