Of all the sentences in all the books I read in 2011, this sentence has to be one of my favorites:
Until now, I’d never realized how much Dad resembled a dog being pushed unwillingly into a swimming pool.
It’s from A Fraction of the Whole, the debut novel by Australian writer Steve Toltz. It was around that part of the book (page 430 of the 530-page hardcover edition) that I asked myself, “How can a person be so witty and creative and funny for so many pages?”
I bought this used hardcover copy at Hastings (check out the “Pass It On” sticker in my cover scan!) in late 2010, after hearing Ann Kingman rave about it several times on the Books on the Nightstand podcast. I read it in the fall of 2011, and it was a wild and wacky ride, and I completely loved it. I have a dozen sticky notes marking particularly funny passages, in addition to the one on page 430. I kept this book on my own nightstand for months, always planning to post a review of it, or at least a post collecting some of the most hilarious bits. I actually started writing this post in October after the last 24 Hour Read-a-Thon — so, almost six months ago! But now, all I really need to say is this: Go find yourself a copy of this book, suspend your disbelief, start reading the first page, and trust Steve Toltz to take you to crazy and fun places with some very unusual but often lovable characters.