Or can you?
Many times throughout my reading career, I’ve been suckered into buying a book solely based on its title: How I Became Stupid, War Reporting for Cowards, Crazy Rich Asians. The latest book — and the one that led me, at long last, to question whether I ought to judge a book by its title — is Werehipsters.
The title says it all: This is a book about werehipsters. Just as werewolves are regular folks who, upon the advent of the full moon, transform into wolves or wolf-man hybrids, so too do the poor souls known as werehipsters.
Or so I thought.
Perhaps the best way to tackle the disconnect between expectation and reality would be to discuss what I believed the book would be about based on the title, and then present the actual plot.
What I expected Werehipsters to be about
In this wickedly irreverent satire of the paranormal romance genre, a young woman who’s as conservative as they come discovers that the “love bite” the strait-laced hunk gave her at the mixer after the Young Republicans meeting came with a curse.
Now, every time the moon is full, she and Mr. Traditional Values shed their MAGA hats, break out in ironic mustache finger tattoos, paw through thrift stores in search of LCD Soundsystem deep cuts on vinyl, guzzle artisanal small-batch organic slow-brewed kombucha, and go on the hunt through the gentrifying neighborhoods of Portland for things to like before they were cool.
How will she explain her monthly morph from bougie to bohemian to the gals from Alpha Delta Pi? And what if she actually starts to like her werelife? Nothing will ever be the same!
The actual plot of Werehipsters
Over the course of a mere 18 pages of text (perhaps 3,500 words by my estimate, making it barely a short story), we meet our protagonist, Dalia Surreal, a technical writer who does no writing. She, in turn, meets Leo and Zane, respectively the CEO and president of the company at which she does not do any work.
The three get it on (it’s that kind of book), L&Z feed Dalia tapas (why?), and then transform her into a were … something. Dalia waits for the full moon with great anticipation, eager to learn what kind of “were” Leo and Zeo are — and what kind of “were” she will be. Surprise! Lane and Zane are werehipsters — and now, so is Dalia. The end.
The end? That’s it?
The book screeches to an abrupt halt on a punchline, like a bad joke mangled by the company CEO and/or president at a corporate retreat. We see none of Dalia’s new hipster ways, and learn nothing of how her tapas-eating, work-not-doing life changes once a month when the full moon crests the inky horizon.
The one-star reviews on Goodreads should have tipped me off.
Still, I can’t resist an on-the-nose title. That’s why I called my latest book False Memoir. The title says it all: This book is a false memoir.
And while there are no wereanythings in it, there’s plenty of storytelling sleight of hand and more than a few surprises. That should make up for the book’s distinct lack of tapas.