Audio & Text Book Response for THE LEGEND OF CHARLIE FISH by Josh Rountree
Listen to me read the review or read it for yourself
The Legend of Charlie Fish by Josh Rountree
Affiliate Link: https://bookshop.org/a/7576/978161696...
Release Date: July 25th, 2023
General Genre: BISAC Categories: Fantasy - Historical, Southern
Subgenre/Themes: Psychic phenomena, creature-feature, paranormal, Western, historical, natural disasters,
Writing Style: pulpy, humorous, heartfelt, multiple POVs
What You Need to Know: Where to even start? I suppose before you dive into this you should know that you’re going to need the time to finish it in one sitting. I could have easily sat in one place with some snacks and tea blissfully unaware of the world passing me by just so I could stay in Galveston, Texas with Floyd Betts, Nellie, Hank, and Charlie Fish all the way until the end of this journey without stopping. A whimsical, dark fantasy story with fish people, talk of witches, and “whisper talk”. I would totally show up for more Charlie Fish tails (tales)
My Reading Experience:
“Magic always works,” Mother said, “just not always the way you expect it to.”
This book utilizes two beloved tropes, well maybe even three. Let’s see if I can explain them all properly. First is the whole “older gentleman with a heart of gold who is maybe suffering from some kind of loss or personal setback, maybe even a little hardened or grumpy, who is forced/willing to look after children who are not his own on some kind of epic journey”. That’s one trope. Another is anthropomorphic creatures in a human world, you know like animals that can talk and act like humans, robots with human emotions, and even appliances like in The Brave Little Toaster. I love that shit. But it’s also very hard on my emotions if cruel, unkind people hurt our soft creatures! I have been known to walk out on those stories. The Shape of Water was like that and the character, Charlie Fish totally reminds me of the Amphibian Man or The Creature From the Black Lagoon. I fell in love with him immediately and all of his scenes in this book are my favorite. He’s hilarious and stouthearted, and sweet. I love him. Oh, and the third trope is the “other”, the alien, the outsider, the sojourner just trying to get back home trope…like in E. T.
I enjoyed all our supporting characters to Charlie Fish’s larger-than-life presence in this book. Floyd Betts, especially Nellie, and even Hank (the crack-shot shooter) took up residence in my reader’s heart. The villains, Professor Finn and Kentucky Jim are great and I loved to hate them.
“I mean you like to put on like you’re educated and civilized, but in truth, you’re a low man, cut through with a violent streak. Is my meaning clear now?”
Later, our band of misfits meets up with a lady friend of Floyd’s and she’s great too.
“You’ll find that life don’t get no easier the older you get,” she said. “Just misery heaped on top of misery until you die.”
Perhaps my only smallish complaint is that Hank needed a bit more page time. Maybe more dialogue or backstory I could really invest in. He has some great lines and the scenes he does have are some of my favorite moments, but I just needed a bit more. The timeline of events was slightly muddy and once the natural disaster starts, there’s one thing the characters did that was perplexing to me, but overall, I absolutely loved my time in this book.
Final Recommendation: Josh Rountree knows how to spin a yarn. Great storytelling ability bringing Charlie Fish to life so I could fall in love with him. More of his adventures would be awesome! Highly recommend this to people who enjoy magic, whimsy, characters to invest in, and an emotional journey.
Comps: The Shape of Water (2017), Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)