Crown the Jester
It’s an unfortunate truth that our reaction to a piece of media is largely based on our mood at the time of taking it in. If you’re in a good mood, chances are you’re going to react favourably to a book, read it again while sad or angry however and your perception of the story will change drastically.
So it is unfortunate that throughout this month I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump, finding it hard to really fall in love with anything I’ve picked up. The annoying thing about this is that, in these instances, it’s hard to tell if you’re not enjoying a book because you’re in a slump or if you’re in a slump because you’re not enjoying the book.
Whatever the reason though, I know that if I were to re-read Crown the Jester while in a better mood, I’d enjoy it a lot more than I did in this instance.
Crown the Jester takes place in an alternate 60’s where JFK has been assassinated, not by Lee Harvey Oswald, but by Joe DiMaggio, leaving Kennedy’s V.P. Frank Sinatra to take on the presidency.
Several other famous faces appear in the novel, Oswald himself appears as a paranoid delusional, Marilyn Monroe is a blonde bimbo carrying Frank’s genetically modified child and Richard Nixon sits in his office scheming about how to impeach Sinatra and solidify his legacy as the first man in space.
Throw into the mix gangsters, mad scientists, the looming threat of the Vietnam war and secret service nuns and you have the makings of an epic screwball comedy that by all accounts I should have loved.
Sadly though, for me, this mix failed to ever really catch fire. There were plenty of moments that I read and found myself thinking “I should have found that funny” but never really did. While I did enjoy some of the dialogue and absolutely loved the portrayal of Nixon as the hand-rubbing cartoon baddie in the shadows, most of the humour in the book just left me feeling…meh…
The story was a little overcomplicated too with so many characters fighting for attention that if your mind wandered for a minute while reading you’d find yourself returning completely lost. On several occasions I found myself flipping back through the book having to remind myself of the various plotlines because it all became a bit of a muddle as the book progressed.
Again though, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I really should have enjoyed this book more. As I was reading, I really wanted to like this book but for whatever reason I just couldn’t get into it.
I may return to this one in the future when I’m in a better mood and see if I like it any better, but for now I’ll rate it at a 3/5. I’m sure a lot of people reading it will really enjoy it and find this mixed up alternate world hilarious, but, for now at least, I can’t personally recommend it.
I received this book for review through GoodReads FirstReads