Monster's Chef: A Novel by Jervey Tervalon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Somewhere along the way in 2014 I had acquired an uncorrected proof of this novel. It had been sitting on my self and I randomly grabbed it when I went away the first weekend of the year. As we relaxed in our hotel room before heading out for the night I looked at some reviews of the book and found a debate about the influence of Monster. The majority of people feel that Tervalon pulled his inspiration from Michael Jackson and a handful think everyone else is crazy and that's not the case at all. I wasn't 100% sure if this would be my kind of book I was willing to give it a try, at least to see if I would be with the majority of people reviewing the book.
The book follows Gibson as he starts on a new path in his life. He had been a successful restaurant owner/chef before drugs took it all away from him, including his wife. Gibson is living in a half way house cooking for the residents. The woman who runs the house has a girlfriend who works for Monster, the famous musician/artist. Monster is looking for a new personal chef and Gibson (through a random interview and encounter) gets the job.
This is were this odd book gets weird. Monster lives secluded in the mountains in a compound dubbed Monster's Lair. Staff must sign an intense confidentiality agreement which basically keeps them from talking to each other. Monster is on some weird food diet which leaves Gibson with barely any work. Monster is described as having once been black but he feels he's reached another level and is no longer confined to descriptions of everyday people.
Things start going south when a young boy (a guest of Monster's) is found dead on the grounds. By this point I started to question what I was reading. This book had me so confused that I just started to skim the remaining chapters. I finished the book and sat there thinking "WTF did I just read?"
I can honestly say I'm with the majority and really see the MJ in Monster, though the character is a twisted characterization of the real man. The book was okay. I think the writing style turned me off more than the story did, there was just a flow issue for me while reading.
I received a copy for an honest review from the publisher.