Sex addicts and perverts can't quite make "Anonymous" great
Mar 8, 2009
Everyone has a story; however, just like the characters in the novel "Anonymous," not all stories are worth telling or are even well-constructed.
"Anonymous" begins with an intriguing premise: the world is filled with unknown people who, through their perverse, inappropriate and criminal actions are anonymously affecting society's laws and civilization. The characters are inmates in a prison, telling each other stories through empty toilet bowls of who they are and why they're prisoners. The writing style owes much to Chuck Palahniuk, as noted by the dedication, "For Chucky P." And like Palahniuk's, Jason Tanamor's writing is engaging and enjoyable in its simplistic and sometimes iterative manner.
It could be that the similarity in writing style to Palahniuk's makes one draw comparisons between plots as well, and in doing that, its plain to see Tanamor's novel can practically be considered tame. But even if that's not the case, there are a few other issues that "Anonymous" doesn't quite get. The stories themselves are intriguing to start, but they suffer from the same flaw from which the novel as a whole suffers. Essentially, Tanamor tries to be shocking but never quite gets there. "Anonymous" takes its ideas to the edge of the cliff but is just slightly too timid to jump.
The novel's main nameless character is not very well fleshed out, and in the end, the only thing of consequence that the reader knows about him is that he has herpes. The other main character, Unknown, isn't much better: he's a sex addict and a fraud. Tanamor hasn't given his readers any reason to care about either character, or anyone in the book, for that matter.
All that said, there are moments of great humor and swaths of excellent storytelling that make the book a fun read and help one see real potential in Tanamor. However, if there's one thing "Anonymous" shows unequivocally, it's that the author can do better.
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Mark J. Lehman (markjlehman)
Jan 2, 2009
Sep 14, 2010 10:59 PM UTC
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Anonymous is a series of stories. Stories are what make the world go round. And they're also what keep a group of prisoners going. Everyday, locked up in their cell, these prisoners spill their guts to the others through toilets and drain pipes, hoping to pass the time until they are able to see the light of day. Some of the stories, they disclose things that only locked up criminals should hear. The other stories, they explain why most people would agree that this group of misfits should be locked up.