Zodiac Pets

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
306 Pages
Reviewed on 05/16/2024
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I'm the author of two novels: RING ON DELI (2020), which won the National Indie Excellence Award for Comedy and a Readers' Favorite award, and ZODIAC PETS (2024). My fiction writing has received support from Vermont Studio Center and Millay Arts. I live near Boston, Massachusetts, with my family.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

A trip down memory lane shows us what a trip growing up in Pennacook, Massachusetts was for Wendy Zhou in the book Zodiac Pets by Eric Giroux. The death of Wendy's father is one of the many incidents that challenge her middle school career, including her sexual identity—something she'd even lie to her diary about. There is also the matter of recurring floods plaguing the town where wild boars roam freely. Now an adult, Wendy looks back at her time as a student reporter at the Pennacook Beat newspaper, where she felt that she found purpose, especially after they tapped into a corruption scandal on how the floods and pigs ended up there, as well as the hidden agenda behind a proposed plan to enclose the town with a massive dome.

For all of its sarcasm and intelligent wit, at its heart, Zodiac Pets by Eric Giroux is a sorry-not-sorry portrayal of small-town politics, bureaucracy, and media dynamics, through the eyes of a triple threat minority (female, Asian, and lesbian) narrator, that offers incisive commentary on larger societal issues. It satirizes government inefficiency and corruption, the microcosms of racism, and the role of the media in shaping public perception and uncovering the truth. Despite all this, there is a charm that oozes out of Pennacook, like small roadside enterprises that include a guy selling barbecue from a charcoal grill in his yard, and a Town Hall that was once a Burger King. Wendy is instantly a character you want to root for, but Graham Bundt and Phil Marconi win the award for most interesting, which says a lot since everything about this story is wholly affecting. Very highly recommended.