Originally published in the Portland Mercury, Nov. 2005
Rather than a deserved reputation as an innovative stylist, Cooper is best known for the deviant subject matter of his previous novels—fisting, erotic snuff films and violently victimized teens—and critics have long pleaded with him to turn his prodigious talents to other topics. In answer, he offers God Jr., perhaps the first truly great literary treatment of playing videogames stoned.
Having never put much effort into understanding his teenage son Tommy until after he kills him in a car crash, Jim seeks posthumous connection by constructing a massive monument to a drawing he has discovered in his son’s notebook. His marriage and financial stability already suffering, Jim learns that Tommy had copied the image from his favorite videogame and receives an intellectual property lawsuit from Nintendo’s attorneys. It’s a funny and disturbing moment as a father attempting to understand his dead son finds nothing but mass-produced fantasies handed down from pop culture—Tommy’s closest emotional connection seems to have been to Thrasher magazine, Christina Ricci and his heavy metal action figures.
Read the complete article at the Portland Mercury.