Book Review – House of Holes by Nicholson Baker

Title: House of Holes
Author: Nicholson Baker
Written & Published: 2011


I need to start this review off with a little bit of a disclaimer.  I picked it up from my local library’s list of books that you should read along the lines of 50 Shades of Grey (or, as I like to call it, 50 types of vomit).  So, while I wasn’t expecting it to be the most amazing book ever, jeez, I was hoping it would be better than that.

When I got it, I checked the front, and noted that the author has four works of non-fiction and seven other novels under his belt.  They’re not a series, so I figured that if he could handle that many stand-alone works, they couldn’t suck.


Then I opened this.

And by the end of the first page, I had shut the book again.  But, no, I’m doing a review site, I should at least stick it out for a little bit.  Two more pages, shut the book.  Eventually, I read to page 50, but more for the comedy of it than anything else.

Here’s the thing.  In the first chapter (which is three pages long), Shandee (all the chicks have stripper names) finds an arm, decides that she should totally take it back home, and smuggles it out of wherever she is in her backpack.  She gets home, discovers that there’s no trauma to the arm, and then it wiggles its fingers and signals for a pen.  After she obliges, Dave’s Arm (because the guys get normal vanilla names), explains that if she crushes up some fish food and shoves it in the little hole at the end of the arm, it can live until the rest of Dave is found.

Shandee leaves and comes back to find her roommate and Dave’s hand, which she watches pleasure said roommate – and then takes dave’s hand back to her room and uses it herself.

Now, in the very first paragraph, the story actually says “He was sorta cute, except for his hair – he must have been twenty-seven. He was really, exceptionally cute.”  Okay, wait.  Either he was sorta cute, or he was exceptionally cute, and really, what does being 27 have to do with his hair?  [note from someone like me who edits – it’s 27 not twenty-seven, thankyouverymuch] I could see if it said “except for his hair – he had a combover like some 82 year-old man” that would be different.  But it wasn’t that.

But I gave the book another chance.  Don’t really know why.  On the next page, the sound of the orgasm was “ham ham ham oo oo oo oo oo ham ham ham HAW.”  I have to say, if a guy ever makes those noises in my bed, he will find himself on the floor.

As for the next few pages…  The basic premise of the book is that there are holes everywhere, and if you find the right one, you can vaporize and get sucked into the “House of Holes” where your wildest sex dreams can come true.  Shandee, for instance, gets the job of washing penises.

I’ll spare you the rest.  This book is about as subtle as a fart joke, and each chapter (they’re only three or four pages each) is a new one unto itself.  With words like cockpole and clitspot (providing yours hasn’t been stolen – there seems to be a rash of clit thievery in this book) repeatedly, I can see why this book is on a list with 50 shades.  But, hey, if you like scenes where the hand of Dave holds an orange so some chick with a stripper name can rub up against it, or you’ve dreamed of swimming in a river of creamy white man-sauce, then you’re golden.

Believe it or not, I’m giving this book a two out of five.  If you like satire and fart jokes, and want your sex to be obnoxiously and in your face, then it might be an amusing one-time thing.  And, you know, unlike that other book, at least this author came up with a plot on his own.


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