Earlier this year I wrote a shareworthy post about my discovery of an American writer by the name of Misti Rainwater-Lites. I am pleased to say I have finally read her latest novel.
Bullshit Rodeo is a non-conformist, autobiographical pursuit of happiness novel, which relentlessly deconstructs the very essence of the American Dream; to better oneself through hard work and determination. The brazen title defines this book perfectly. Trapped in the black and white concepts of her Texan surroundings, our protagonist and narrator (Misti Rainwater) struggles to make sense of God, love, family, responsibility and all the grey areas therein.
During a phone conversation with a neighbour of a friend Misti is asked, why she is in Texas? Her response is a simple one, “I was born here.” Born into a place she is constantly trying to escape through literature, music, fantasy and love. Love is the recurring topic throughout the book, or perhaps a more accurate description would be the consequences and intricate complications that often stem from love. In desperate attempts at recapturing the ebullience of childhood, Misti takes us on a journey of heartbreaking cognitive dissonance as she struggles to be a wife, a mother, a lover, a writer and a daughter. We see her fail time and time again in her well-intended efforts. More importantly we see her try to come to terms with such apparent failure.
The story unfolds in a non-chronological order, but not at the risk of hindering character development or plot. Each of the short chapters are capable of boldly standing alone as short pieces of prose, vignettes and, on occasion, poems, while remaining integral parts of the larger piece. It’s an exploration of self, place and how, for good or ill, the two are inextricably connected.
It’s probably worth mentioning that Misti Rainwater-Lites has a reputation as a shock-lit writer. I’d like to point out very clearly, this is not a piece of shock literature. Shock-lit is summed up in total by its ability to shock. Bullshit Rodeo is far too textured to be described as such. I was astonished by how her writing could provoke such contradictory emotions as I read; laughing out loud at the top of a page, gritting my teeth with anger at its midsection and cringing from the infectious self-loathing at its bottom. This is the book you will want to throw across the room only to find yourself picking it back up again a few minutes later and starting where you left off.
Bullshit Rodeo is a carefully crafted, poetic, intelligent, insightful piece of unmissable contemporary literature. An informed exploration of the human condition on both an individual and universal level. I read the entire book in one day because I couldn’t put the damn thing down. Truly a rare bastard of a Novel, Bullshit Rodeo is a masterpiece.
Title: Bullshit Rodeo
Page Count: 254
Author: Misti Rainwater-Lites
Editor: Wolfgang Carstens
Publisher: Epic Rites Press
Distributor: Tree Killer Ink
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