Book Review - Me and Mr Cigar by Gibby Haynes
I pre-ordered this book pretty much as soon as I heard about it because I was so excited that Gibby Haynes had written a novel! The Butthole Surfers are one of my favorite bands of all time, and I also have a love for one of Gibby’s older bands, P. Needless to say, when I got this in the mail, I was like, ah!!
Almost immediately, I knew I really liked it. Gibby’s writing style is completely wack, just like his lyric-writing style. Absurd things pop out of nowhere, random shit seems to happen for no apparent reason other than it’s funny and strange, but there’s an underlying brilliance to it all. The presentation and tone is also very unpretentious and lowbrow, much like the vibe of the Butthole Surfers.
Spoilers ahead for the rest of the review, as it’s a little hard to talk about without going into the plot at all, so if you plan on reading it unspoiled, read no further. Anyway, I thought it was really cool how Gibby took the ‘heartwarming boy and his dog story’ trope and spun it into something unexpected, absurdist, and—haha—drug-addled. It’s relatable at the same time as being sci fi because it’s the story of the protagonist’s dog being this amazing government experiment that everyone is after, and I feel like we can all resonate with that feeling that our dog is so special and the coolest, best dog in the world. So he took something that is almost universal, and exaggerated that, which made for a good concept.
The protagonist is also very likable, and a solid character. Not sure how his habitual drug use and career as a dealer is going to go over with parents of thirteen-year-olds, but I guess we will see. One of the most YA-appropriate things Gibby did here, though, is that he made each chapter only 2-3 pages long. I think that will be a welcome sharp contrast for kids who are used to reading ‘long, boring’ chapters of books that are ‘no fun.’
But a lot like the Butthole Surfers, a good chunk of it makes sense and then some of it is just weird stuff that doesn’t really lead anywhere. Not necessarily a bad thing, as that’s kind of one of Gibby’s signatures, but I will say that I think it works better in music than it does in the form of a novel.
It’s definitely experimental and could be more polished than it is, but hey, it’s creative, it’s unique, it’s a good time, and most importantly, it’s Gibby and you can tell that it’s Gibby. And A++ for a fun, captivating voice. I really enjoyed reading it. I love you Gibby!