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Stacking Doll Paperback – March 1, 2018
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"Stacking Doll" is my new favorite, because it's the most touching of his books. This story is an allegory for loving someone unconditionally, flaws and all.
Yes, it has some of the crazy things I've come to expect from Mellick, and from bizarro fiction in general, including an objectively absurd premise (what if there was a race of people who were, basically, living nesting dolls?) and weird, weird sex (just read the book for this one). Those things are part of what makes his books so different and so fun. And yes, he's written touching love stories before. "The Haunted Vagina" and "I Knocked Up Satan's Daughter" come to mind. For me, "Stacking Doll" goes beyond these and is a thorough and valuable exploration of what it means to truly love some one.
I could not recommend this book more highly.
And do I believe this comparison is accurate?
Stacking Doll is a love story through and through. It doesn’t try to be anything else. It’s about being a love story from the surface of the book, right through to its core. It’s an emotional rollercoaster which encompasses a huge part of true and lasting love. It captures what makes a genuine relationship last a long time. It scratches beyond the basic level of what it means to be in love, and it scratches deeper and deeper, and it’s not always beautiful and it’s not always easy. But it’s real and it’s honest, and as fantastical and as strange as it is, it’s incredibly true. This is a rare Carlton Mellick III book which people are going to cherish for many years to come. The metaphor of the stacking dolls, the layers of a person’s identity, the progression of the narrative itself, it’s just beautiful. I love so many of Mellick’s books for many different reasons, but this one will sit up top with Quicksand House as one of the first books I recommend others to read, as it is a perfect example as to why bizarro (and weird fiction in general) is important. You don’t have to be a weirdo to relate to a love story like this. You just have to be human (or close enough to human).