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Me & Mr. Cigar (Soho Teen)

20 January 2020

Gibby Haynes

Because when I’m looking for books for my teen-age “young adult” reader, a title by the deranged leader of the Butthole Surfers Gibby Haynes immediately springs to mind.

Actually, it should. Because Me & Mr. Cigar is a mind-blowing, surrealistic novel about a boy and his dog. A special, supernatural dog named Mr. Cigar that assists the protagonist, teenager Oscar Lester in finding his sister Rachel (whom Mr. Cigar accidentally bit off her hand early on) who has been taken by folks unknown. Along the way Oscar and his pal Lytle discover a government method of invisibility that allows them to rob banks and escape danger while dealing MDMA. Books for teens have certainly matured since my day – for the better. Me & Mr. Cigar is a road story, a twisted Texas-sized On The Road perhaps, a coming of age fable, and severely strange.

Of course it’s strange, it’s Gibby Haynes. For example when Oscar first encounters the potent form of MDMA (by accident), he discovers:

“Yes, I’ve finally found my people. Not that its super heavy or anything. But my people turned out to be this jovial array of misshapen primates playfully dancing upright in a void of myopic singularity. No big deal.”

Add some weird rhythms and over the top guitars and that’s a Butthole Surfers song.

Illustrated by Haynes, this wonderful – if completely odd book is unlike anything you’ve read before, but it’s a remarkable achievement by one of the strongest pioneers of popular culture working today….Gibby Haynes. Enjoy!