Heat Factor: Even a box can get ridden
Character Chemistry: They’re sad together, and then they’re very very happy
Plot: Man becomes stranded in a sea of holiday shoppers with a present. Who has a big penis. And cut abs.
Overall: Absurdist erotica at its finest
What’s one key piece of information you think a reader should know before getting Pounded In The Butt By The Handsome Physical Manifestation Of Holiday Shopping?
Holly: This was by far the most absurdist of the three books we read. The whole time I was just like, “What. The fuck. Is happening?” But also, I liked the message.
Ingrid: I agree with Holly, I read this when I was very tired and I had a very difficult time following it. I thought he was going to fall in love with the fisherman dude. But then there was a present. With a weiner. Honest to goodness, it felt like reading someone’s shroom hallucination or cough medicine dream.
Erin: I was surprised and impressed by the ocean metaphor and the fact that he was constantly describing the people in the store as an ocean. An ocean of people and there were waves and the storm on the ocean which prevented him from leaving. It was like, on the one hand, “What is happening here?” On the other hand, this was a really good follow-through on the metaphor for the way people behave when holiday shopping.
Holly: I would like to add that I read this book on Black Friday, and it felt very appropriate, and I was glad I was sitting on my couch reading Chuck Tingle and not shopping.
What did you enjoy about this book?
Erin: I most enjoyed the message. The acknowledgement of how overwhelming holiday shopping can be and the fact that this guy took out a second mortgage to finally prove to everyone he knew that he could afford to buy them the nicest gifts, but that went by the wayside of the more absurd behavior of the store in opening earlier and earlier.
So he was calling out in this humorous way the way we value consumerism, but at the same time, he was plugging his own books. “You can get a Chuck Tingle in paperback!”
Holly: I agree, I liked the message, and maybe that’s because I’m an anti-consumerist hag. But the physical manifestation of holiday shopping is sad because of the way consumers are behaving, and that shopping is no longer a joyful thing for people. So he tells our hero to shop in a way that brings joy, or to shop less. Of course our hero is confused by this, but Holiday Shopping is pushing back against consumerism and arguing that gift giving should be thoughtful and make us happy. It’s a nice message for our times.
Ingrid: I liked the message, obviously, and what an apropos place to put it, in a short erotic book. I also liked the dreamy vibe that it had. It felt like The Christmas Carol, but with a giant present with a dick. It had throwback vibes, to those Christmas stories with morals and lessons.
What questions do you have now?
Erin: I want to know what happens with the fisherman, because like Ingrid said, that’s where it seemed like the romance was going. Also, what’s he going to do about his second mortgage?
Ingrid: Maybe they’re going to run off together and live in the mall.
Holly: He does have a fishing pole now. The holiday shopping manifestation helped him get the perfect present for his companion, so maybe there’s a happy ending for them, too.
What about the bonus story?
Erin: STARBUCKS CUP TRAIN!
Holly: This one is the most explicitly speaking to politics because he is a Christmas Warrior obsessed with the Christmas Starbutts cups, and when they are just plain red cups for the holidays he goes off the fucking deep end.
Erin: The best part is I remember everyone losing their shit when those cups came out. The fact that even now, years later, I remember how angry everyone got. Omigosh. Evergreen. “Slam me full of promotional holiday spirit!” It’s so good! “Two at a time?…Why not? Let’s make it a double shot boys!” *hysterical laughter*
Ingrid: Oh my god.
Erin: So the premise is that this guy is a Christian who is persecuted by people trying to be inclusive during the holidays and he has a breakdown in Starbutts and is sent to the hospital. And he starts thinking about how sexy and taboo those plain red cups are. And then some plain red cups come to visit him in the hospital.
So the political commentary coupled with the weird erotic component is just…it’s amazing.
“I know, but I can’t help it, these cups mean so much to me.”
“But why?” the nurse begs to know, trying to understand the utter horror that I am going through.
“Because they’re trying to boycott Christmas!” I tell her. “Starbutts is trying to make this season for everyone instead of just for Christians. They’re oppressing me!”
“Well, I mean, does it really matter what the cup looks like?” Keenankel asks. “It’s just a cup.”
“Yes, it matters,” I retort, “I didn’t expect you to understand. These are my Christmas cups! Don’t you understand that? Christmas is the only time that us Christians are not an oppressed minority and now they’re trying to take that away from us, too!”
It kind of makes me want to read his other political stuff, honestly.
Holly: Well, Erin, I bet you anything he has some very recent ones about Elon Musk, so…
Erin: He does!
Ingrid: Fantastic and very weird, all at the same time.
Erin: Once again, the bonus story is the show-stealer.
Holly: This one in its absurdism almost felt high-brow and literary at times. It was a very weird reading experience.
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