Some books of short stories are held together by a theme, but John Jodzio’s new book, If You Lived Here You'd Already Be Home, is held together by style. Darkly humorous and filled with unsettling symbolism, Jodzio offers us a glimpse through the keyhole into another life.
“I get paid eight dollars an hour to pretend I am Vincent, Mrs. Ramon's dead son. I do this on Saturdays from noon to four.” pg 75, “The Deadsitter”
At first glance, you may assume that the stories have a Midwest-vibe; after all, Jodzio is a local writer. Quite to the contrary, as you read each story, you will discover they tackle more universal topics. The pages are filled with dysfunctional and deranged humor, and yet humanity is always maintained in his characters, who really just want to belong in their crazy world.
Jodzio isn’t just your average boy next door and his writing is more abstract than Minnesota-nice. This is exactly what makes us long to read on and escape for a moment into a bizarre world where it is completely normal to find bog bodies, eat batteries, drop your wife from a balcony to bring on a climax, or pee into random neighbors' mail slots. Jodzio's characters feel like stretched rubber-bands ready to snap and maybe that’s why we can’t stop turning the pages.
There are other prank calls. Not kids. Late night calls that come while the clown sits on his lime green couch and drinks brandy from a cup that looks like a hollowed-out skull. The clown's wrists, after twenty years of squeaking together balloon animals, feel like they are on fire. His jaw throbs from the millions of smiles he's forced. There is no giggling in these prank calls?”
pg 56 “Everyone Prank Calls the Clown”
One of the necessary functions of any short story is to grab a reader's attention, compel the senses, and keep it going till the end. Jodzio has found a way to make this work again and again in his vignettes. Unsettling and starkly innovative, If You Lived Here You'd Already Be Home makes us feel good with whatever life we choose to live; in short it makes us feel good to be home.