REVIEW: Washer Mouth

Kevin Donihe’s “Washer Mouth” is sort of a spiritual successor to his previous bizarro novel “House of Houses”.  Like that book, “Washer Mouth” is a fantastical romance, but with some twisted horror and social commentary mixed in.  It’s about Roy, a washing machine sent to be the messiah for all washerkind.  Roy knows more about the human world than the other washers (he has a view of the TV), making him the oddball of the Laundromat.  But as a human himself, he’s terribly naïve, and gets taken advantage of by a world that’s out to exploit everybody.  So how can a washing-machine-turned-human actually realize his dreams and find true love?  Let Kevin Donihe show you the way.

Roy isn’t very interested in his role as the herald of washerkind.  He’d rather pursue his goal of meeting his favorite soap star.  Like any far-fetched dream, Roy’s journey doesn’t go as planned.  He begins making friends (term used loosely) with several actors from “Sands of Eternity,” which leads up to finally meeting Helen, his favorite soap star.  All the while, the Dark Washer has also become human, and is out for Roy’s blood.  He’s also turned the other washers against Roy, and as the Great Changeover nears, Roy’s fragile chance of achieving his dream is threatened by millions of naked washermen.

On his quest for happiness, Roy is abused, taken advantage of, held prisoner, and humiliated.  It’s all terribly uncomfortable and debasing, but Donihe plays it for laughs, and it works.  I feel like “Washer Mouth” is meant to one day be a John Waters film.  The weirdest things about it usually have nothing to do with Roy being a washing machine.  The people he encounters are strange and dysfunctional.  They’re usually overbearing oppressors or downtrodden victims.  The human world here is defined by cruelty, and we see it through Roy’s innocent and confused eyes.  “Washer Mouth” is a bizarro satire of soap operas and show business, and Donihe makes it sing.

Get it here:


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