Everyone wishes they were dead when wandering the purgatory of a home furnishings store, but these guys actually are.
Benji Goss is the quintessential good guy. When his boyfriend dumps him and moves out, Benji obligingly keeps the cat—even though he’s allergic—because his ex’s new place doesn’t accept pets. He’s always joked the cat would be the death of him, but not in a way he expects when a feline mishap crushes him under a DEL TORO bookcase.
Snarky loner Patrick Bryant is in such a rut he barely remembers the life he used to lead. The last thing he recalls is being decapitated by a DEL TORO bookcase in a freak accident. As a spiritual CASA resident, he haunts the aisles of affordable Italian furniture, assisting fellow spirits in moving on to their final destinations.
When Benji appears in the CASA café, Patrick considers the naïve spirit just the man to cure his boredom. Benji’s relentless optimism chips away at Patrick’s sarcasm, making him question if there’s something beyond what he can see. But the heart is like CASA furniture—there’s always some assembly required.
Poor Benji isn’t having a good day or … life… or death. He’s been dumped by his long term boyfriend and is now being bugged by his mother to move on and then… well… then he dies.
Benji ends up in a place called CASA (remarkably like another store that can’t be mentioned that has furniture and is assembled…) where he meets Patrick. Patrick is a “full time employee” of CASA and his reluctant and question-avoiding Guide.
Patrick – with the help of Karin and Agnes- eventually gives Benji the information he needs to know while living in CASA and together they help lost “souls” find their way to their next landing spot.
Patrick is determined not to be attracted to Benji – he knows love isn’t real – especially not in CASA – but it’s hard because Benji pushes all of his buttons.
Benji was a pushover in life and he’s determined to be different now – but he wants Patrick and he wants what’s best for both of them.
Eventually the time comes for a decision and these two lost “souls” must decide their next step.
This was hysterical! You have to bring your A game though – this isn’t a book to skim or breeze through. There were several passages I had to go back and forth between to get the nuance and to figure things out. There’s a lot of symbolism and metaphors and pop culture in this book and (I’ll admit) sometimes it was hard to catch them all… but those I did catch were really funny!
I loved the snarkiness of Patrick and his eventual breakthrough – so rewarding! Benji also found his own strength and determination and that was very special, too.
The world –building was both fascinating and maybe a little underexplained. I had to work to figure out what was what (nothing wrong with that) but once I had it sorted I thought it was brilliant. Having to tread lightly on copyright laws, the authors can’t say that CASA is really —- that other store with affordable ready-to-assemble furniture and might be purgatory and Walville is —- another discount store where people go to die and might also be Hell and Scope ——- another big discount store that funny people make skits about and might be Heaven… but you can figure it out… I’m sure.
Using that as an analogy and the entire *wink wink* CASA catalog as a reference point, Benji and Patrick help these lost souls find their path in ways that are often ironic and sweet at the same time. (I have to admit I got overwhelmed by all the NAMES IN CAPS of the furniture… not having an extensive CASA literacy maybe held me back here…) In any case the love story between these guys is sweet if subtle, the humor is abundant, the world-building (especially spectral sex) is creative and unique and the overall message really solid and heartwarming – Love is a leap of faith.
I highly recommend this unique book to fans of humor, pop culture, ghosts and creative love stories.
4.5 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review