Dirk Danger Loves Life, the début novel by Chris Rothe, is a comedic tale of a sad little man who cannot function in any self-sufficient capacity. As his life swirls down the drain, serendipity provides a phone number that launches him into the world of Dirk Danger.
What follows is a not‑so-typical coming of age story involving scuba gear, terrible poetry, a fish eulogy, a walrus, pop music, terrible puns, marijuana, a fake attorney, homelessness, death, and far, far too much pornography. The road to recovery is a twisted and ridiculous one indeed.
The plot of Dirk Danger Love Lifes is pretty straight forward, our protagonist is a young man who’s finding that he’s a bit rubbish at pretty much everything he turns his hand to. He’s lost countless jobs, is about to be evicted and can’t even keep his pet fish alive. So he responds to an advert that leads him to talk to Dirk Danger and agrees to meet with him and tell him just how much he sucks at life, and Dirk in turn decides he’s going to take on the he responsibility for fixing our nameless protagonist’s life.
The book then follows this plan of action through, and that’s when things really take a turn for the strange. Dirk Danger’s plan involves a series of lessons that seem utterly random, but as the story progresses slowly start to fall into place. There are bits of the story however that I still haven’t quite been able to make my mind up about, the fox and the walrus for instance, but after trying really hard to work them out I realised that it didn’t really matter.
Along with the two main characters in the book there are a number of more minor characters who appear throughout the book. I liked the way that even a character who only appeared briefly once of twice was created in such a way that I had a clear idea of them.
Whilst this book is in places rather bizarre, it is ultimately a rather positive, almost nurturing read. The final chapter in particular leaves you feeling really glad that you’ve read the book. I certainly felt entirely satisfied as I read the final page.
Dirk Danger Loves Life is published in paperback and eBook by Atomic Fez. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book all of the opinions expressed are my own.