I downloaded Dinners with Satan by Lou Sopher from the author’s website through Instafreebie. I probably would not have selected the download if I had seen the tag “the first five chapters.” I consider this a weakness of the Instafreebie site. Perhaps I should blame the author website. The subordinate annotations, almost subtitles, are not always visible and led me to download something I would not have if more complete information about the novel were visible. Nevertheless, the books are free and fulfill my goal of finding something my students can acquire without irritating import fees.
In these first five chapters the reader will never know the real name of the narrator. “Lou” details his life as a child in a home where he was one of eleven children. There was a song in the family that contained the names of all eleven children; those names are given. Despite my rereading of the first five chapters a couple of times, I was never able to discover the real name of “Lou.”
In the prologue, the author gives up the identity of the devil as he sees it. “I believe that all of us have the capacity to be someone’s devil. Sometimes by choice and sometimes not.” (Kindle location 12). The author then goes on to detail the identities of the devil(s) he has met at various stages of his life. He admits that sometimes he was the devil, at least in relation to other people. Sometimes one of his brothers was the devil. But the supreme devil, the one with the pitchfork, was Ginger, also known as Lou’s wife. Ginger owned a pitchfork, an element of social media known as a cell phone.
Ginger didn’t start out as “a” or even “the” devil. she also didn’t start out as Lou’s wife. Instead, she started out as Lou’s girlfriend until she got pregnant. After Lou expressed doubts as to whether he was the father, Ginger left to live with her parents, had a child (Hailey), and ignored Lou. Another “Ginger” (actually Jennifer) appeared to participate with Lou in a carefree lifestyle. Another pregnancy, also one which Lou declined responsibility for. To make his point of non-responsibility even more definite, “Lou” married Ginger and even had another child with her. A paternity test paid for by Jennifer affirmed that “Lou” had fathered her child. To say the least, stresses on the marriage with Ginger increased, stresses multiplied by Ginger’s promotion and increasingly higher income earning ability.
Enter Ginger’s cell phone (the pitchfork). Ginger was texting someone and she was being furtive about it. “Lou” was sure of this as Ginger was using the same techniques he had used when he was hiding text messages from Ginger during the time he had a similar relationship with a co-worker. “Lou” needed to get into Ginger’s cellphone and, ultimately, her email. He already had clues about an online dating site visited by Ginger. Feeling the devil was in the details, “Lou” wanted more.
And so ends chapter five. There is enough of a hook that I will look for the rest of the novel. The writing style is as mysterious as the content. Sometimes written tongue-in-cheek with a lot of humor, there are also parts that are rather moralistic. I am interested in reading the rest of the story to see if it is one large comedic farce or whether it is a confessional with moral religious lessons. These first five chapters have references to biblical passages and references to a strict family upbringing.
I will update this post as I find out.