A Fistful of Reviews
Last month, Wormfood was officially turned loose to slither through unsuspecting bookstore aisles. I’ve found a few cool reviews to mark the occasion:
“Over the decades, horror fiction has featured some very unsavory creatures from swamp things to zombies but never have they been more unappetizing than the ravenous worms infesting Jacobson’s debut horror novel. Life for dirt poor, trailer-dwelling teen Arch Stanton is a daily grind. When he’s not mopping the floor in Fat Ernst’s ramshackle restaurant, he’s riding around in a pickup truck doing odd jobs with the trash talking, redneck Sawyer brothers. But things are about to get much worse when the truck plows into a hearse bearing the corpse of a local rancher, pitching the dismembered body into a ditch along with some nasty white, foot-long worms. Then Fat Ernst sends Arch and the brothers on a midnight run to poach a dead steer from a fetid pool and the worms wind up in the cheeseburgers and bellies of the restaurant’s prominent gun-toting patrons, with mayhem the result. While Jacobson devotes more ink on stomach turning imagery than on genuinely fear-inducing scenarios, fans of his particular brand of gross-out horror will relish it.”
— Carl Hays
A few thoughts on this whole experience.
It’s been pretty surreal, and wonderfully satisfying to read these reviews. See, to be perfectly blunt with everybody, I’m not used to people reading my stuff who don’t know me. I mean, these reviewers have no idea who I am. And that’s fucking cool.
Up until this spring, most everybody who has read my stuff pretty much knows me. I’m talking about doing readings at my college, you know? Where, no matter how awful the scene, no matter how disgusting the situation I’m writing about, I’m reading to people who either have me as a teacher or know me personally as a friend or colleague. Sure, my short stories are out and about, but you don’t get the same kind of feedback from a short story compared to a whole novel.
I’m talking about folks who know me through my classes or whatever, folks that can see me read, folks who can hear my voice, hear me trying not to giggle as I describe a particularly gruesome moment. They can take in my wrinkled shirts, my usual shorts, my tangled hair, my permanent five-o’clock shadow. Or, as one student put it on the “RATE MY PROFESSOR” website: “He looks like he always just rolled out of bed.” Hell, that semester, I probably did just roll out of bed because that was when my son was born.
The point is, these readers can tell that it’s all a big joke, that I’m just up there, having a ball, that I’m writing this stuff because it simply makes me laugh. Not to say that I’m not trying to shock the reader, or scare the reader, or make them care, not at all… but bottom line, I’m trying my damndest to entertain them. My ultimate goal is to keep a reader turning the pages, wondering what in the hell will happen next.
Humor, like horror, is very personal. What scares one person bores another. Same with humor. My wife finds puns hilarious.
I do not.
But hey, show me a guy getting hit in the balls with a football, and I’ll laugh until I cry.
My wife will shake her head.
My point is that this has been such an education, you have no idea. My ego, upon getting a new review, generally swells until it forces other people to leave the room. I can’t tell you how happy I’ve been with the reviews so far, because for the most part, folks seem to really GET IT.
And I couldn’t be happier.
I mean, in the query letters to various publishers, I tried to describe Wormfood as my love letter to “going to see a gory nature-gone-amuck B-movie at a particularly sleazy drive-in theater.” This is what I’ve tried to achieve with Wormfood.
It’s been a hell of a lot of fun.