Lorin Recommends: Kiss Me, Stranger: An Illustrated Novel by Ron Tanner
I won’t lie: this book may not be everyone’s cup o’ sunshine. Tracking the exploits of its protagonist, Penelope, as she struggles to protect her fourteen children in a war-torn dystopian landscape, the book is almost aggressively post-modern in its outlook and references. It is funny, weird, and trenchant, with illustrations that are sometimes artistically adept and sometimes beyond childlike in their execution. Like, way beyond.
I can’t point to it as a masterpiece of character development or plotting, but something about it grabs you. It is filled with quirky, original details—like the soldiers who wear pots for helmets or the President who has an obsessive love of Gregory Peck. It offers a pretty scathing indictment of war and consumerism, but at its heart is a mother’s love for her children and a tribute to the tenacity of the human spirit.
If you’re looking for a different read, something thought-provoking and daring, give it a try.