Plot: 5/5 Characters: 5/5 Writing: 4/5 Entertainment: 5/5
Where does one even start with “Let There be Linda?” It stands alone as one of the most bizarre, dark, and surprisingly human comedies to ever grace the Amazon store. The jokes are grim, but too wacky not to laugh at, the characters are all insane, but easy enough to understand (in most cases) and memorable, and the story itself has so many twists and turns that it’s impossible to guess what’s coming next.
Brothers Mike and Dan Miller can’t stand each other, but are forced to come together when their mother passes away suddenly. As if getting along through the funeral isn’t hard enough, Dan runs a talent agency and signs a girl who can raise the dead, leading all Hell to break loose. Now the brothers must work together to survive a loan-shark little person and his giant body guard, a psycho comedian-cop, a real estate zombie, and an angry reanimated poodle. Oh, yeah, and they have to get $75,000 from a coked up dentist.
I can’t imagine “Linda” was an easy book to write, but Leder made it look easy. He manages to balance the dark aspects of the story and its humor perfectly. Not only that, but all of the characters are fleshed out and stay faithful to their development, no matter how bizarre. Together, these elements worked to suspend my disbelief higher than I thought possible for such a strange book. A woman who can raise the dead and whose eyes change color every day? Sure. Vengeful reanimated poodle with a thirst for blood? I don’t see why not. A grown woman with a Dr. Seuss reading club? I’d expect nothing less at this point.
In addition to the expertly crafted narrative, Leder manages to touch on the very real phenomenon of grief. There aren’t many quiet moments where the brothers can reflect on the loss of their mother, but when they occur, it feels genuine. Especially with Mike since he was closest to her. Despite all the zany plot twists and insane characters, the feelings of lose and the uncertainty of what to do next felt very real. The emotions that the characters go through especially struck a cord with me since I lost two grandparents and an aunt last year. “Let There be Linda” was probably the last book on Earth I expected to shed tears for, but I did, and I applaud Leder for capturing such a personal and complex emotion in such an unlikely book.
If you like fast-paced stories, crazy antics, unforgettably strange characters, and dark humor, “Let There be Linda” should definitely be on your reading list. I highly doubt that you’ll regret it.