Confession time. I suffer the same affliction as our main man, Neil. Infantophobia. I don’t like babies. I don’t think they’re cute (newborns look like wrinkled potatoes). I don’t want to hold them. I don’t understand the baby smell thing. Baby powder is always covering up a poo smell, and I’m not about to take in a deep whiff of baby. In short, all babies are weird nightmare babies. Are you a baby hater? I don’t hate them, I just don’t want to be around them. So Neil’s reaction to a perfectly normal baby approaching him had me rolling.
This bizarre tale begins in a factory where meat is turned into dentures. I guess it’s wide open because Neil seems to be kicking people off the conveyor belt throughout his shift. I want to be dentures. He tells his coworker that it’s good to have dreams, but he needs to get back to work. I feel like that’s a phrase that will stick with me. It’ll be another reference that I come back to that my friends don’t understand, much like that Nick Swardson bit where he explains his use of the work party. It’s all downhill from here.
Anyway, like most of my favorite bizarro tales, this one can be described as weird presenting as mundane, and then it gets weird. Perfectly normal things like procreating or not wanting to procreate are depicted as exaggerated parody of their real world counterparts. Everyone is baby crazy. Babies are everywhere in great quantities yet the general population seems to think there aren’t enough babies being born. There are SO MANY babies. Literal avalanches of babies. Babies peeking out from vaginas at inopportune times. Baby making robot cashiers. This book is more than a bizarre tale about man with baby related trauma who doesn’t want kids of his own but somehow ends up raising a demon baby bent on destruction as punishment for…not wanting babies. It’s commentary on the pervasiveness of social and familial pressure to procreate and participate in the child rearing of others. I know, I have the bad habit of sucking all the fun out of what is a hilariously unhinged story by talking about real world stuff. Folks who don’t want children (or those who had them because that’s just what you do) will find much to relate to and even more to laugh about. Some folks are going to take issue with the content in this book, but I reckon the bizarro crowd will understand. I loved it.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ for me. Bizarro is one of my favorite genres and this one hits just right. This story hits the ground running and really doesn’t let up at all, so if you pick this one up, expect to read it in one sitting because Odell doesn’t let you come up for air. If you like bizarro horror that makes you think, you’ll like this one.
Big thanks to Riley Odell and Planet Bizarro for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. You can buy My Weird Nightmare Baby, by Riley Odell on Amazon for a couple bucks. Do it.