Monday, May 01, 2006

The Folly of Assumption by Lee Martindale

The full title of this collection of short stores is The Folly of Assumption: The Collected Fat Fantasies of Lee Martindale. As the title implies, what makes these stories stand apart is the role of fat, overweight people. Lee Martindale is unabashedly a large person herself and these stories are clearly an outlet for her own frustrations, encouragement to others like herself, and a message to stick figures of the world. The stories are entertaining, often a satirical, and generally leave the reader with a sense of justice.

This short collection of only about 40 pages contains five stories: “The Folly of Assumption”, “Porter Piedmont and the Office Party Santa”, “Neighborhood Watch”, “Porter Piedmont’s Not-So-Wonderful Life”, and “What Goes Around…”.

"The Folly of Assumption"

This short, entertaining tale is the story of a man who has just survived an assassination attempt. Our would-be assassin is a large woman, often underestimated, who is quite an accomplished assassin. The assassin and her captor speak and come to terms of a new bargain, or not.

"Porter Piedmont and the Office Party Santa"

Porter Piedmont is the stereotypical, disgusting CEO of a large corporation. His company produces various foodstuffs and the like for overweight people and Porter is generally less than kind to his employees. At this Christmas Party, Santa visits with surprises for everyone.

"Neighborhood Watch"

A detective investigates a potential bogus complaint by a neighborhood’s somewhat eccentric ex-cop. He speaks with a relative new comer with the odd habit of being a true night person. She is a unique person, and the witty banter slowly evolves into a horrifying revelation for the detective.

"Porter Piedmont’s Not-So-Wonderful Life"

It’s a year after the infamous Christmas Party above, and things are not going well for Porter. A substitute guardian angel takes him on a journey paralleling the movie alluded to in the title, only the world really would have been better off without Porter Piedmont.

"What Goes Around…"

The title tells you what’s coming. What can only be described as a fitness Notzi dies in her sleep. She wakes up in unfamiliar surroundings being attended to by a fat servant. Slowly it becomes clear just where she has awoken.

The stories are all quick, fun reads that I enjoyed. Martindale risks getting ‘preachy’ about her ideas, but I felt the line was negotiated fairly well in the end. She clearly has strong opinions about world’s treatment of the overweight. On my 10-point scale where 5 is a take-it or leave-it read, and 10 is unsurpassed, The Folly of Assumptions rates a 7. A good fun, read.

Unrelated to the content of the book is an issue that I have with its publisher that I wrote about in this recent post. Come to your own opinions, but perhaps these stories are better read from other sources – I believe most have been published on-line at some time or another.

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