Wild Animus

Wild Animus 
Author: Rich Shaperd
Release Date: 2004
Outside Reading

Free stuff is good. Walking the streets and getting free samples makes a bad day turn to good, the simple turn of receiving a free bottle of Mountain Dew or some noodles. You can’t really complain at free food and they make me even go off and buy some later down the line. If the world didn’t have free things given away on the streets now and then, the world would be a miserable place. Wild Animus was a result of these free events in which I received a free book. A whole free book! That’s a bit more than a free Twix for sure. But unlike free snacks, Wild Animus doesn’t seem to be free to promote the product. I mean, I already have what they’re advertising.

Wild Animus is a novel about a man called Sam who likes to get high and pretend to be a ram. After finding a girl called Lindy during college protests, he believes he has a new goal and must find himself. To do this he ventures into the mountains to become one with the world and believes he has found a god. The story shows his descent into enlightenment or madness and it all sounds pretty interesting. Just a shame about the execution.

First-most, Sam, or Ransom as he likes to be called for the majority of the story, is a horrible protagonist who has this strange distant way of speaking and vague goal from the beginning. He never shows any real form of character or care, always running down a deluded and irritating path as he hurts his lover Lindy’s feelings constantly and likes to get high on LSD every chapter. It seems the first half of the story consists of rambling about rams, wolves and mountains before he and Lindy take drugs then have sex. Same format and I forget what I’m reading, the descriptions blend into a soggy mess of nothing, everything could be said in fewer words and with more meaning. It is a cluster of detailed writing which clogs up the barren plot line. The second half removes the sex and replaces it with Ransom going crazy on drugs in the mountains and then the text goes bold.

When the text becomes bolded, the story becomes an unbearable chore to read as Ransom describes his trippy ram moments. The text is sluggish to read through and everything feels bloated and messy. I quickly lost interest in what I was reading and just read the writing without paying attention to what was happening, it’s easy enough to work out reading like this anyway, so much fluff in between the happenings. Secondary characters introduced also fail to leave an impression, it has big dreams but fails to deliver on every front.

Reading the back of the book I noticed there are a set of soundtrack CDs for the book to make the whole experience come to life, but no matter how good the music is I just can’t see it bringing light to this tedious novel. At least it was a better free gift than the latte I once gone. Bleurgh.

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