This clunky but evocative title delivers on its promise. I particularly like the idea that there could be freelancers who specialize in chronicling disastrous relationships. These six stories are tales from the dazed survivors of modern dating, and while some of the concepts are a bit obvious, Tomlinson imagines each one in a funny way. The genre thrills and chase scenes of “She’s Just as Ruined,” in which a private eye seeks a relationship runner, is one of the funniest.
These are true stories of disaster, and what makes them effective is their ability to capture the mess of emotions, expectations and the terribly mundane incidents that ruin everything. These characters have the best of intentions and their plans appear to be excellent. Only slowly do they begin to recognize them as flawed and downright pathetic. In “45 Degrees of Love,” a man hopes to win a fiancé by kneeling in her doorway for as long as it takes to convince her of his worth. By the last story, the main character has perhaps learned from the bumbling fools that preceded him. He may be able to avoid the mess, but will it benefit him in the end or not?
The book is nicely designed and has a snazzy cover, but the construction is a bit weird and leaves something to be desired. It’s not like you have to pick between being a book and being a zine but I got the impression this little collection doesn’t quite know what it is. (Kris Rothstein)
by Adam Tomlinson, $10, 193 pgs, 40 Watt Spotlight, 84 Preston Street, Suite #2, Ottawa, ON, K1R 7N9, 40wattspotlight.com