Despite the self-deprecating title, this is the third edition, published in 2015, of Dan’s Lame Novel by Dan C. Rinnert. The first edition was published in 2012, the second in 2013, then there was a stumble with no edition published in 2014, a further support to the claim of being lame.
There can be little critical comment about any breaking of rules of good writing because Rinnert preemptively criticizes himself. In a foreword, wisely written after completion of most of the novel, Rinnert identified most writing canon that he had blown up (pun intended) and proudly proclaimed that he had the right to do so. The warning for the reader is “You have been warned that this is a lame novel, read it at your own risk.”
Just as the novel is lame, so is the protagonist. Through every misadventure Dryer Vent ( the protagonist) seems to be limping, sometimes on one leg although to offer the novel more balance, sometimes limping on both legs. Dryer has no adventures other than misadventures. His goal from birth up to the time of his unfortunate capture by author Rinnert was to avoid having progeny named Lint Trap. Rinnert spends little time in deep thought trying to invent names for his characters preferring instead to take the names of nearby appliances or billboard ads. Dryer’s mother’s name, Honey Bea is one example. And for a real stretch, try to figure out who Thad Olsen is. By the time you do that, other identities will have come and gone.
This book is great fun to read. As the author states, he could have written something shorter but then it would have been a novella. He wanted to try a novel knowing that in some parts it would be a slow read and even boring. When the action got boring, Rinnert warns the reader. When the action slows down it may be due to the author going to sleep or taking a snack break. Rinnert insists that when he takes a break, so does Dryer Vent. Unfortunately, other characters in the novel continue their “lives” at normal speed, resulting in multiple time warp events happening to Dryer.
Rinnert talks directly to the reader with thoughts such as “see, I told you this part was going to be boring.” The author also talks directly to his characters in a type of “Voice of God” experience for the characters. This is a handy device until Rinnert finds out that some of his characters can overhear elements of his plot development, such as it is, that he did not mean the character to know.
And then there is the Taco chapter, especially valuable for students of all ages when confronting an assignment that requires a minimum page count. What does that have to do with Tacos? Read the book.
This is great fun. I recommend it for readers who like absurdity carried to extremes. I want to read another of his story collections which he describes as the darker side of romance. It will be interesting for me to see if he continues the humor that is present in the style of writing this novel presents.