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What. A. Book.
Spoonbenders is one of the craziest rides I’ve been on in a while. This novel took me a while to get hooked, but when I did, I couldn’t put the book down. I actually had to pace myself because I was taking notes, being that this book was chosen by the members of “Not Your Mama’s Book Club” for the January read. It won in a close vote, and I didn’t think it would be something I’d enjoy, but I was so wrong.
There’s a lot going on. In the beginning of the novel, it’s like picking up breadcrumbs and you have no idea where they are taking you. We are introduced to Matty and the Telemachus family, who used to be famous for their Amazing (with a capital A) abilities but the loss of the matriarch made the act fall apart. Maureen Telemachus had true psychic abilities, and passed them down to her children. Teddy, Maureen’s husband, had always been in the game for the money, but when he met Maureen in an experimental group, he knew she was the real psychic thing. Unfortunately, he couldn’t save her from her fate, and it left everyone downtrodden… until Matty learned about his secret powers.
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While Teddy is off on his daily search for love, Matty and his uncle Frankie are developing Matty’s powers… mostly for Frankie’s own selfish needs. And while they’re palling around, Matty’s mother Irene is trying to get her life back together and attempting a long distance relationship. Then, there’s Buddy, whose precognitive powers have him hustling to complete a series of tasks that he knows are necessary, but unsure of how they will all turn out in the end.
It’s a complicated plot, but comes together so well. About 100 pages in, you’re hooked because there are all these you have no idea where this book is going. So, just to get you interested, here’s a little chart I made that may help clarify a few things! Although- if you don’t want any spoilers, STOP HERE!
So now that the main characters and their connections to each other are summarized, I have a couple of things I just wanted to state. First off, Buddy is the most underappreciated hero of this story. Having the ability to detect the future and see everything coming his way from such a young age…it broke my heart that he had to carry that burden. I mean, the letters in crayon, drawing his mother’s grave, knowing that he could accidentally change the future if he didn’t do something correctly or say something. Gregory had me completely empathetic towards him. Then, there was Maureen, who also knew of the future, thanks to Buddy, and wrote all those letters to Teddy. Very PS I Love You, but also abstract enough to not reveal all the plot twists. With Teddy, it was a love/hate relationship, how he could con someone one minute, charm them the next. By the end of the novel, all I could do was shake my head and smile.
So, in summary, Gregory’s characters are wonderfully complex and dynamic, and the way he weaves the plot together is like his very own magic trick. I happen to be a sucker for a good magic trick, and Gregory left me dazed, wondering how he did it all. My only explanation is to go get yourself a copy, and see what you make of it!