- Book Title: The Perils of Praline: Or, the Amorous Adventures of a Southern Gentleman in Hollywood
- Author: Marshall Thornton
- Publisher: Kenmore Books; Second Edition edition (April 17, 2015)
- Book Length: 233 pages
- Genre: Romantic, Comedy, Satire
- Reviewed by: Diane
- Rating: 4 Star
- Posting Date: September 10, 2015
Praline Palmetier is a delicious construct: part southern heritage of graciousness and cloying sweetness, part willful re-interpretation of the Good Book’s instructions on living Christian, part naïve/arrested development horndog, and several layers of outrageous mishmashs of Forrest Gump, Gomer Pyle and Dobie Gillis.
The plot is simple, perhaps even simplistic. Praline falls in lust/love with a reality show participant and heads to LA, convinced Dave G will fall ass-over-teacups in love with him. All they need is the meet to assure Praline fulfills his life’s ambition—becoming a same-sex-celebrity significant other.
Written in episodic fashion, much like a screenplay which focuses on the barebones action with minimal dialog, and featuring a linear narrative… He said this, does that, blah blah blah. And then it hits you. He did not just say that! And then your cat leaves claw marks a half mile long trying to escape the raucous laughter and choking sounds as you try not to expel a lung in your merriment.
It’s sort of like watching Tim Conway in a skit, except you read it. Yeah, like that.
Praline’s moral compass is fixed firmly on Uranus, taking the concept of promiscuity to new levels of flexibility and opportunism. But what starts out as a romp turns a hair sinister, and ultimately more than a hair outlandish. But such is the nature of satire. Less is definitely more, yet if you are willing to suspend disbelief (much as Praline does when it comes to the pesky thou shalts), the ride is actually rewarding on its own merits.
It ain’t Shakespeare.
But what The Perils of Praline is, is a fun read full of broadly drawn characters and caricatures, a compendium of delightful barbs against pop culture icons, political and entertainment figures, as well as a range of other socially worthy targets.
Praline’s mom is an absolute hoot. The long-suffering Jason, the fellow drawn into the madness by accident but who stays because… Well, you need to read it to find out why. Plot holes are filed in with a bulldozer, nothing is exactly resolved, and the ending is rather jaw-dropping in a really, no really? way. The second half isn’t quite as good as the first, but by then you’re invested, as they say.
The Perils of Praline is droll, outrageous, and outlandish. My face hurt from laughing. It’s perfectly imperfect if you need something to lighten up your day. For that, four stars for saying stuff I couldn’t, in a million years, come up with.
Trigger warning: spew alert, don’t read with your mouth full.
Before Kim Kardashian broke the Internet with her butt, Peter “Praline” Palmetier brought it crashing down with his own bubblicious booty. When he falls in love with a reality TV show contestant, Praline leaves his home in rural Georgia and—failing to recognized this might be considered stalking—travels to Hollywood to find and meet his soul mate, Dave G. Once in Tinseltown, he encounters a collection of startling, and often horny, characters in his quest. They include a studly steward, the Godfather of the Gay Mafia, a bondage-crazed landlord and casting assistant Jason Friedman, who always manages to be there in time to save Praline from total disaster. But it is conservative pundit Malcolm Wright who propels Praline’s derriere into the Internet hall of fame when the two are filmed in the backseat of an SUV. Will Praline eventually realize his dream of becoming a same-sex celebrity spouse? Or will he find everyday, ordinary love?
Marshall Thornton is a novelist, playwright and screenwriter living in Long Beach, California. He is best known for the Boystown detective series, which received an honorable mention in the 2011 and 2012 Rainbow Awards and has twice been a finalist for the Lambda Book Award – Gay Mystery.
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