There are some people that you just can’t get out of your life, no matter how hard you try. Strange But True [William Morrow] is the story of three people connected by fate, who have abandoned their lives in different ways and due to a strange set of circumstances, and are back together for better or for worse.
Missy is a pregnant teenager in love with her dead boyfriend and unwilling to go on without him. Phillip, brother to Missy’s boyfriend, is the victim of a mysterious, violent encounter and flees back home to his mother after failing at most everything else. And Charlene Chase, Phillip’s mother, is a once-beautiful, bitter housewife who has turned to the drugs of food and television to hide her grief.
With the exception of a flashback scene where sweet, virginal Missy says about her boyfriend to her twin sister, “I want to fuck his brains out,” (a nice fantasy, boys, but an inexperienced teenage girl just isn’t there yet)—the characters are mostly believable, edgy, and fascinating. In fact, Strange But True might be well-named, not because it’s a true story but rather that it smacks of little human truths: the mother’s P.I.L.T.R.A.N.A. (‘People I’d like to rip a new asshole’ list), Phillip’s secret lives, the need to believe in the spiritual, and how the minute something awful happens to those we hate, we can rise above ourselves and become someone new.
Author John Searles weaves a curious, suspenseful plot with just enough of the unknown to propel the story forward, and then throws a surprise plot twist in at the end. Strange But True is a hard story to put down and an easy one to get lost in. Not exactly life-changing, but then fun doesn’t need such a hefty requirement.