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Monday, April 20, 2015

Book review: Bow Wow Orders Lunch

When it comes to the great literature I've been reading lately, nothing compares to the book Bow Wow Orders Lunch.  In the history of literature, right there alongside Moby Dick and À la recherche du temps perdu, sits this unparalleled tome.



In its sophisticated plot the reader finds an intricate pattern that weaves its metaphors back and forth.  The plot and sandwich thicken and we are led through a veritable maze of materialistic metaphor, in which the sandwich represents the rise and fall of the bourgeoisie.  First it builds itself steadily.  The cheese of hope, the bread of a good, plentiful economy -- together they form the perfect equation for attaining the American Dream, building and building, rising and rising...



But then, ah, a twist!  And what a twist is is.  The pattern of wealth and plenty comes to an abrupt halt when there is too much bread.  Bow Wow thought that his cheese/bread back and forth would continue on as it always had, but then, things changed, right out of nowhere.  Bow Wow sees this happen and as he breathes the single, solitary word "No" in horror (the horror, the horror) the bread bubble bursts.  The pattern has changed.  Nothing will ever be the same.


What is a dog to do when things change?  How can Bow Wow adapt to his new situation?  There is less hope in this new sandwich economy -- less cheese, you might say.  The cheese and bread are no longer equal, which is a clear metaphor for how the classes were driven further apart and further inequality was highlighted during the housing crisis. 

What I found really fascinating though was the abrupt ending.  Much like the final slam of a door to a house someone is fleeing in the dead of night due to foreclosure, Bow Wow slams his story shut.



It feels abrupt, but right, too, a final act of defiance against the sandwich economy given to Bow Wow.  He refuses to play.  The denouement is the finest part of the book as it leaves the reader not merely satisfied but achingly full, as though they too have consumed the sandwich with Bow Wow.

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