Cleanliness is important for Vera. Raised in filth, she now puts her skills to use by selling the Bissell SC (self-contained) 1632 model, the vacuum of her dreams. The money rolls in, the future for her family looking brighter and brighter until she comes face to face with the wrong person – someone that clearly doesn’t care for a clean house.
(WARNING: This review contains MAJOR spoilers.)
It’s not unusual for me to crave something that’ll turn my stomach and make me hate myself, it’s happened before. The Slob stood out with its cover that, like the story itself, I didn’t know if I was there for it or if I wanted to purge it from memory. Vera is a door-to-door salesperson, and after some initial success of selling vacuums, she soon visits the wrong home. It had an interesting start of learning about Vera’s early life and how she eventually became a clean freak. There was obvious effort put into her character, at least until things got out of hand, and that drew me in. I even enjoyed reading about her relationship with her partner – Beauregard’s writing had a certain flow I liked, and the various illustrations preceding each chapter were a nice touch. Everything was well and truly serene at this point. Then it wasn’t.
Now, let’s think of the vile things that could be done to a woman being held captive – it’s not pretty, is it? This book included a lot of them, and this is where my criticisms lie, not necessarily with the acts themselves, but at how Vera’s emotional and physical states were portrayed in the aftermath. As it was, she went through horrific torture – again, this was to be expected and I was well aware of what I was getting myself into – but she became less of a character and more of an immortal meatbag for the villain to abuse. Her loss of identity was a shame since she was introduced with such personality, and all that was left was the violence, which… yeah, did live up to its reputation. One particular scene of foeticide will forever remain in my brain, placing itself among one of the most disturbing things I’ve read. In that regard it did what I wanted it to, but even with accomplishing the desired effect of me feeling sick and wondering why the hell I seek this stuff out, it initially set up something more that was squandered.
Oh, and I didn’t much care for the ending. That’s all I’ll say about that.
In conclusion: Being one of those books I find difficult to pin a rating on, The Slob was about a woman, a vacuum, and a monster of a man. Held captive after a failed sales pitch, Vera experiences extreme trauma with graphic descriptions, basically surviving the unsurvivable. It’s one of those pieces that you expect the worst going in, but the result is far more twisted. My biggest complaint is that time was put into the main character’s backstory, but whatever development there was was forgotten and replaced by the violence – had their been a balance maintained between the two, I think it would’ve worked.
I had created my own den of deformity now, a land of misery without smiles.
© Red Lace 2022