A guest review by Leslie S
Review summary: Laugh-out-loud story about a pro-wrestler and his biggest fan… who isn’t actually his biggest fan at all.
When Jason Smith wins a contest he doesn’t remember entering, he earns a visit with The MeatGrinder, aka Trent Peterson. Trent expected a rabid fan; instead, he gets Jason, who knows nothing about wrestling, doesn’t care about the prizes, and would prefer to skip the official wrestling demo, please. Trent should be annoyed, but by the end of the day, Trent knows he wants more than one day with Jason. Now he just as to convince Jason that Trent is more than his alter ego.
Part of Dreamspinner’s Daily Dose: Make a Play package for June.
Jason is obsessed with entering contests. As he never wins anything, he enters more and more, and so when he receives a phone call telling him he’s won the chance to spend the day with pro wrestler The MeatGrinder, he’s excited that he’s finally won a prize but he’s also a bit bemused, because he knows nothing about pro-wrestling.
When he googles The MeatGrinder, Jason realises he knows this guy – they went to university together. Back then, Jason was a shy, spotty little geek nursing a hopeless crush on hot jock Trent, who didn’t even know he existed. Jason is a bit nervous about meeting his long-ago crush, but he’s more nervous about not living up to his ‘Super MeatHead’ tag as winner of the contest.
When The MeatGrinder welcomes Jason to his house, Jason fumbles and flirts his way through the encounter, digging himself into bigger holes each time. The MeatGrinder slowly gives way to Trent, and as the facades of both men are lowered, they have the chance to come together – and not just in a sexy sense
I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard or so often at a story Humour is so subjective, and most times I steer clear of self-advertised humorous books because I don’t find them all that funny in the end, but when I saw the blurb for this one, the set-up sounded pretty hilarious – and I’m pleased to report that it exceeded my expectations.
I lost count of the times I did actually laugh out loud at this story. It’s told in first person from Jason’s perspective, and he’s a witty and self-deprecating narrator who uses well-placed sarcasm and is also happy to mock himself. The Xbox scene in particular had me cracking up.
For all the hilarity in this story, I liked the gentle underlying message of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. Trent is a genuinely sweet guy beneath his macho MeatGrinder image, and I enjoyed his defence of pro-wrestling when Jason dismissed it as fake. I’ve not seen much of this sport myself, but this story made me want to watch a couple of matches just to appreciate the effort wrestlers put in to create and maintain the illusion.
The story is long enough to hit several humour high points and gives us enough of a glimpse into Jason and Trent’s personalities to prove that they’re a good match and can build on their HFN. The narrative voice worked fantastically for me, and I’ll be looking for more books by Kyle Adams. If you’re looking for something short, sweet and properly funny, you won’t go wrong with Prize Package.