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Muscle Memory (New Bizarro Author) Paperback – October 13, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

...though Lowe uses humor liberally through the book, like the appearance of Terry Bradshaw in a dream and the recurring jokes about bestiality, this book takes a far more penetrating look at the human condition. --I Read Odd Books ireadoddbooks.com/

...this book is sophomoric, filled with ridiculously blatant humor that will have you groaning and guiltily laughing on every page. - Copyright © CCLaP, Jason Pettus --Chicago Center for Literature and Photography

From the Author

Steve Lowe has never broken a single bone in his body.  (jump to conclusion)  Steve Lowe has super powers.
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Product Details

  • Series: New Bizarro Author
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Eraserhead Press (October 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936383012
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936383016
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,564,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's always a risky proposition: to take a well known trope (especially one that peaked in the films of the 80's) and try to find a new way to spin it. In Muscle Memory, Steve Lowe takes his cue from movies like Freaky Friday and Like Father, Like Son, presenting a tale of bodies switched and swapped all over a small community. Using some clever writing however, Lowe transcends the typical structure of those stories and takes it to a whole new level of absurd and hilarious wonder.

Billy wakes one morning to the dog meowing at him, next to his own body (which happens to be dead) and inside the body of his wife. Soon, his best friend Tucker (who now inhabits the body of his own wife, Julia) and other friends and neighbors (including one poor fellow who's now stuck inside a sheep, leading to some hilarious accusations about his personal life) set out to solve the problem.

A number of theories are put forward in the story, including everything from government conspiracies to alien interventions. In lesser hands, this might become nothing more than a farce, but Lowe creates depth for his characters. They are developed indeed, from the way they talk to the way they think and act. Steve Lowe has obviously spent some time around small town America, because he nails the little mannerisms, casual sexism and low speed drawl of the community, leading to a realistic and funny bunch of people. The protagonist, Billy, is especially interesting, with his everyman charm and his laid-back street smarts, it's easy to find yourself hoping that he'll make it through the chaos okay.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the ending. Without spoiling anything, I have to commend Mr. Lowe on writing a bizarro book with a truly poignant and literary final moment.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Awesome book! I really miss mind switch movies and I think it's time they made a come back. Also, Steve Lowe is a really good writer. With this book he has shown that Bizarro can be strange and also have a point. He doesn't just throw a bunch silly crap together and call it a book. He took a bunch of silly crap and crafted it into a really well thought out and entertaining book. [...] when Hollywood inevitably remakes Like Father Like Son or Vice Versa I hope he gets hired to write the script otherwise I'm not going.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Too short! That's the only bad thing I can say about this title. The story was so richly amusing, I found myself groaning inwardly when I realized, all too soon, that I had reached the halfway mark on the Kindle version of this book. Is it an original idea? Nope. But Muscle Memory takes a very worn plot device, stands it on its ear and makes it sing like a cuckoo bird. I will definitely be on the lookout for more from this author.

-- Rod Redux, Author of Mort
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Steve Lowe, <strong>Muscle Memory</strong> (Eraserhead Press, 2010)

I actually finished reading <em>Muscle Memory</em> over four months ago. I've only been writing reviews sporadically this summer (trying to get a bunch of really big projects hurried along toward their conclusions), so I've ended up sitting on this one in particular for way too long. Sorry about that, Steve. As you will know if you've read the one I tore off a while back for <em>Wolves Dressed As Men</em>, I am an unrepentant, unapologetic Steve Lowe fanboy, so I'm not even going to attempt to put up some sort of facade that this is an unbiased review in any way. In fact, if I could just write "read this!" three hundred eight (and a half) times, I'd do that.

Now, normally I'm not a big fan of comedy; if you've read enough of my reviews you'll probably get that impression. But when I find an author who actually manages to come up with good, solid comic timing, I become a fan pretty quick. Lowe, for all that <em>Wolves...</em> was a serious book, is capable of firing off the witty one-liners as well. And where better to do it than in the middle of a scurrilous, jaundiced, obscene murder mystery? And despite this being a comedy, and even better one about switching bodies (and the point at which the main characters discover the law that oversaw the switching of bodies is one of the book's most hilarious), it is at heart a mystery. Our main character, Billy, wakes up one morning and finds his consciousness inhabiting the body of his wife Tina. And here's where it gets interesting: it's entirely possible that Tina floated over into Billy's body... but no one knows, because Billy is lying there quite dead.
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We've all seen the brain-switching genre, usually in crappy movies about parents and teenagers, where the kids experience the burden of adult responsibility and parents get a taste of the terrible hardships of high school. They walk a mile in one another's shoes and come out wiser for it. How charming. But Muscle Memory twists this simple idea into something fresh, entertaining, and disturbing. The body switch happens not to a gimmicky pair of people, but to an entire town. Most guys wake up in the body of their wife (or mistress). Housecats wake up as the family dog. One guy wakes up in the body of a sheep, the implications of which he firmly denies.

But the main character, Billy, wakes up to find his wife dead inside his own body. It turns out that she'd poisoned him with antifreeze the previous night, only for the switch to happen. Now she's the one who's dead, but inside Billy's body. Not only does Billy have to deal with his new female body. Not only do he and his neighbors have to discover how and why they've been switched. Billy has to also deal with the fact that his marriage sucked, his wife tried to kill him, and now he has to bury his own body.

Muscle Memory feels like an old school episode of the Twilight Zone, and it makes for quick and satisfying reading. The twists and turns are subtle and deliciously weird. The characters are normal folks put into a situation that is equal parts absurd and dangerous. And as a writer, Steve Lowe has a really great voice that brings across these small town characters and the dilemma they're in. The dialogue feels real and the emotions authentic, lending a lot of humanity to a story about brain-switching, which is normally a silly premise. It's that mixture that makes Muscle Memory a really great bizarro novella. Plus it has Terry Bradshaw in a dress!
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