The blurbs and back cover of this book, I think, completely misrepresent its tone. The back cover seems to imply zany fun times, but though Crocodile Soup is written with humor, I wouldn’t really call it chipper.
The main character, Gert, is a lesbian and the present time plot of the story is mostly about her trying to woo a coworker, but this definitely takes a backseat to Gert’s childhood and family. Crocodile Soup is told in very short chapters, usually only a couple pages each, switching between the present and flashbacks leading you through her childhood. Gert and her twin brother were mostly left to their own devices as kids, leading them to both spiral out wildly in different directions. When present-day Gert starts getting letters from her mother, she has to deal with old memories.
Crocodile Soup deals with a lot of fabulism. Some small, magic-ish things happen, and it’s unclear whether they actually happened, or if they’re metaphors, or if–as suggested by her brother at some point–Gert just has a tendency to exaggerate.
Gert, both in her childhood and in her present life, has difficulty finding direction or purpose. It gives the book a bit of a melancholy feel, and I wasn’t sure whether or not I was liking it most of the way through. By the end, though, I think I did find it worth keeping. Crocodile Soup is definitely intriguing; it was one of those books that when I finished it, I immediately wanted to re-read it from the perspective of what I then knew.
Have you read Crocodile Soup? What did you think of it? Have you ever read a book that was completely different in tone than what you were expecting?