Review: Big Egos by S.G. Browne

Brief celebration for actually posting a new review, woohoo! Blog’s formatting became screwy and it took me a while to figure out how to fix it. Then life just got in the way… Anyway, I never stopped reading during that time so now I’ll have lots to blog about. Last month, the day after my brother’s wedding, while I was still recovering from all the festivities, I received a message saying I’d won a signed ARC of BIg Egos by S.G. Browne.  Awesome! I’ve loved S.G. Browne’s books since reading Breathers a few years back and Browne is one of only a handful of authors I let myself buy new while I was in school and while I am currently looking for full-time work.  When money’s tight, I tend to stick with the authors that I’m sure won’t disappoint. The rest I get from the library.

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Title: Big Egos

Author: S.G. Browne

Publisher: Gallery Books

Genre: Fiction, Humor

Rating: 4 out 5 stars

Have you ever wanted to be someone else? Just for a little while? Or do you have a favorite character in  a book that you’d like to walk in their shoes for a while? That is the premise of Big Egos. The main character is the head of the Investigations department for a bio-engineering firm called Engineering Genetics Organizations and Systems (EGOS). Basically, he and his team get to test out all the EGOs products before they become available on the market. EGOs sells the ability to become any dead celebrity or fictional character that a consumer may want, at least for a few hours. Since the main character has access to all the different EGOs, he can become someone else any time that he wants. As the book progresses, it becomes less clear if what the main character is experiencing is real or fiction under the influence of an EGO. He becomes involved with some dangerous business that his boss may (or may not) have asked him to undertake.  He also starts to experience flashbacks of his own childhood that become progressively weirder and provide unreliable exposition of the main character because of their slightly unreal quality.

This book was a lot of fun and a great concept.  It expands upon Browne’s short story, My Ego Is Bigger Than Yours, from last year’s collection Shooting Monkeys In A Barrel: Ten Twisted Tales which is available as e-book and left me laughing for hours. The fun in this book comes from the main character’s transformations into dead celebrities and fictional characters. When the main character is someone else, Browne writes him with all of the characteristics of that given persona and drops enough hints so that we know which character he is at that moment. This is really fun for characters like Elvis and Indiana Jones, who are entrenched deep enough in pop culture that the hints can be really subtle. I’ll admit when the main character became Holden Caulfield, it wasn’t as obvious for me because I haven’t read Catcher In The Rye.  It helped that every party he attended seemed to have a theme.  The cast of characters around him, whether dead celebrity or fictional character wannabe or original character helped to create a very fun story.  The plot of the story, with its jumping back and forth in time and not knowing always what is true, can get a bit confusing for the reader but the vivid characters helped me to stay interested.  If you’re looking for an amusing read with lots of fun characters where the humor gets a little dark, I really recommend this book.

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