The Pinball Theory of Apocalypse starts with the world is coming to an end.  Isabel Raven’s father, a Cal Tech physicist, has conclusively proven precisely when the world will end.

An earthquake hits LA right in the first few pages of the book, followed by several more earthquakes. Roads are torn up, buildings are falling down, and some are sinking back into the tar that is underneath it all. Instead of doom and gloom, this book turns out to actually be a very fun read!

Isabel Raven lives in LA, and is an artist. She makes art I wish I had the creativity to make Isabel places celebrities into famous paintings. Cher as Mona Lisa. Tom Cruise and Katy Holmes in American Gothic.

Her agent, Dahlman, is a bit “off”, and does her career more harm than good with his misguided attempts to make her famous. For example, he posts nude photos of Isabel on her website, without her knowledge or consent. He got these photos from Isabel’s mom, of all people, and they might have been taken before Isabel was quite eighteen. Doesn’t stop Dahlman.

He also appears to have made a deal with a billionaire that involves the sale of Isabel’s paintings, and of Isabel herself, for at least one night. Isabel’s boyfriend might be leaving her for an underage pop star with a fake Latina accent, and her new (also underage) friend turns out to be a drug dealer with a penchant for stealing rare artifacts. Oh, and there are a series of earthquakes going on while Isabel is running around trying to get her life together.

I really like the sense of humor that flows through this book. This is one of those books that drops cultural references and doesn’t bother to explain them to the reader, knowing full well that the reader is going to get the joke without the author having to take time away from the story to give the explanation. It’s refreshing.

I also found this book to be very “Californiacentric”, if that’s a word. I just recently moved to California, so I found these little references to be fun. These things might trip up a reader not from here though. (Example: I never had heard of a Thomas Guide before I moved here. They don’t seem to exist in the Midwest).

I really enjoyed that despite the series of earthquakes, all the characters in this book were going about their day as if nothing unusual had happened. Just another day in LA. It’s like they all are thinking something along the lines of, “Sure, I know the world is going to end, but, I’m working on a deadline, and I really want a Starbucks right now.”

Maybe this is because so much of LA is a facade. Botox, plastic surgery, movie sets, celebrities dolled up in false images to sell more records… it’s just a little bit unreal. If this was your day to day world, perhaps you wouldn’t be troubled by the end of the world itself either. Isabel is, in some ways, trying to find herself amidst this sea of facades. Not an easy task.

This book review of The Pinball Theory of Apocalypse – by Jonathan Selwood is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.

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