on June 18, 2013 :
Anything with white rabbits invokes a blond little girl in a blue dress, but Stuart Oldfield’s The One Who is Two ventures into an adult satire of Alice in Wonderland without jumping on Lewis Carroll’s toes.
The One Who is Two follows adulterer and failed father Simon Cadwallader on his adventures into a strange dimension where signs move, animals talk, and inanimate objects hold high opinions. After leaving his ex-wife’s home, he finds himself transported to another world. As he tries to find his way back home, he comes across many peculiar characters, some human, some not-so human. His travels reveal that he wasn’t the only person to enter the alternate dimension, and soon, he has to abandon his cowardly ways to save the new world.
The premise of The One Who is Two isn’t original, but the way newcomer Stuart Oldfield tells the story is well-done and easy to read. He paints the alternate reality with fresh and vibrant descriptions while maintaining his comedic voice as Loofah, Simon’s name when he enters the new world. In places where the prose is a little too well-done, readers can read slowly without feeling as if the story will drag into a dimension of boredom.
Throughout the whole book, subtle and obvious points bring the theme home: duality. The One Who is Two is relatable and un-relatable to adults; the sexual innuendos and the dreary office scenes (hovering overseer—I mean, supervisor—included) are understandable to working adults; the talking animals and murderous inanimate objects are completely foreign to sensible adults. Many readers will easily find the alternate reality’s duality as a satire (and unfortunate comparison) to society now. By the end, readers will want to get the next book from Oldfield’s White Rabbit series.
For readers who are looking for another Alice in Wonderland, The One Who is Two isn’t the same book. Still, open-minded readers looking for a quick read made for adults, The One Who is Two is such a book.
(review of free book)
Mary C. Moore
on Dec. 21, 2012 :
Oh where do I start? What a fabulously surreal twisted tale. It felt like the story of Alice and Wonderland all grown up and tripping on acid.
The beginning sucks you in with a seemingly innocent setting. Simon is in his old house with his ex-wife and kids hoping for a little love on his birthday. Because he had previously left them for a younger woman, the reception is less than welcoming. He is kicked out after noticing his daughter has a strange new pet, a bunny rabbit named Loofah, that keeps staring at him. Depressed he heads home and somewhere along the way reality collapses.
Suddenly we are in a world of horny flowers, dogs walking humans, and maniacal household appliances. Simon doesn't know who he is or how he got there, but outside forces are pushing him in different ways.
I loved the story and was enchanted, except for two major things:
-At points the narrative rambles through the surreal setting, there's a lot of blinding lights and dizziness and hazy memory which dulls the prose and makes the reader want to sleep. It picks up again with some strange occurrence or another like laughing signposts or a sexually suggestive Barbie Doll, but then the narration slides back into the haziness and loses its form, just a bit too much.
-The novel ends abruptly at a point that is obviously meant to be a cliffhanger but is frustrating in that it still feels like the middle of the book. It seems the series has four books in total.
This story is definitely worth a look, and I can see this author really growing into something quite fantastic. (hopefully he can cut down on the extra words)
(review of free book)
El Chupacabra Independent
on Oct. 15, 2012 :
Dark comedy taken to the next level. Squeamish beware. Although there are plenty of scenes that would qualify as horror, The One Who is Two never fails to remind the reader of the bizarre humor that exists in such grotesque circumstances.
It's a page turner and that's what counts.
(review of free book)
on Sep. 17, 2012 :
I found this book as a feature in a weekly newsletter from a free e-book site. As a longtime fan of all things Alice, I saw the words “White Rabbit” and immediately headed over to download it.
It was a fantastic choice to make.
People, this book is one of the best free books I’ve ever read. It was gloriously thick in descriptive imagery, like a rich stew that hits the spot on a cold night. It left me with a book hangover and accompanying disappointment that it ended. There was a link to the author’s Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/stuart.oldfield.9), so I crossed my fingers and sent an email request to be put on the list to be notified if he continued writing the story.
The internet is a strange place and I didn’t expect to hear back from him at all. There was an empty feeling that seems to be solely a bookworm’s curse – that feeling that the story isn’t over, but you’re accepting the fact that you just might never get to know what happens. It’s a death of sorts, a terrible sense of void.
My day was put right by a quick response from the author which included a link to books 2, 3 and 4.
It has been years since I’ve written an in-depth book review, so you get the short version, but I heartily encourage you to get this series. Caveat: I’m writing these reviews on September 17 - I finished book 1 on August 24 and book 2 on August 26, so the details are a bit fuzzy.
As an American, any cultural slang is endearing to my ear. It reminds me of hours spent watching Faulty Towers, Monty Python, and other shows where the ladies are always dressed as if they’re just about to head off to church. This book slides pleasantly into your brain, cheerfully mucking about with the serotonin levels and making you feel as if you’ve just eaten a few special brownies. It sits well and is reminiscent of the book “Good Omens”.
There are several Adult Situations in the story. If that sort of thing offends your delicate sensibilities you may want to read something a little softer, but it’s definitely written professionally and can’t be any worse than That Book Of Numerous Shades.
Book 1 finds our hero in an unhappy spot of life, and leads you down the trail that may or may not be a horror story. You get lost with him, pushing leaves and branches out of the way, and find yourself wanting to swoop in and rescue him all at once. You may find that the abundance of descriptive wording does more harm than good if you’re one trying to genuinely picture the scene, but if you take it slow it’s not bad. This read requires close attention to follow the bouncing ball from woods to suburbia.
There’s an Office. A Company, if you will. You begin to feel yourself surrendering to the ease of having The Company run your life, and (as you take a sip of your Medium Sized Coffee Drink) you may find that it’s just easier to give up and watch as you drown in screensavers, charts, and TPS reports.
A host of characters comes to life to help our fearless friend get from point A to Q, and it reminded me of a more adult version of the Disney Alice classic that I loved so much.
Good things happen, bad things happen, but the story continues. Read it.
(review of free book)