Blubber Island

I am Lindsey Jones and I’m going to take you through a thorough and thoughtful review of the dark comedy, philosophical thriller, Blubber Island. Blubber Island is written by Ismael Galvan. An author known for encrypting his stories with characters that are at the bottom of the social food chain and putting them in the oddest situations and eventually letting them flourish. Galvan, currently resides in Japan with wife an English teacher. He most famous work is in fact Blubber Island and writes in a Gutter Surrealist style.    

Elis, a social outcast sits in his small hut by a fire drinking tea. He is then abruptly affronted by a man in a business suit who tells him that he has torn a hole in his head. Elis is taken back by this and asks what exactly does he mean by this. The businessman continues on and Elis defensively drives to attack him with a spear when all of a sudden his world is turned inside out. Zombies come from nowhere and begin eating Elis. As his flesh was being torn apart, Elis is eventually saved by a tribe of gorillas summoned by an old man. Elis meets the old man, who tells him the zombie virus is spreading rapidly throughout his body. They both begin to argue, ending in the old man's home being caught afire. The old man urges for Elis to go inside the fire and rescue the antidote, or else he will become a zombie. Elis opposes to this, and expresses that he'd rather be a zombie than deal with such a nasty world. The both suddenly wind up in a forest, meeting an old samurai, and man named Casper. Casper takes Elis to a ballroom filled with awfully cheerful souls. The party is ambushed by a group of ninjas and gorillas. Everyone begins to oddly want Elis to dance with them. At random moments, the people begin shooting themselves. A man named Suit tries to keep Elis hostage as the chaos resumes and zombies appear. Elis is able to free himself and escapes the party with Casper. They both end up falling down a dark tunnel.

    A homeless girl named Jamie attends a prestigious university with her best friend, Green boy. They blend in with the students, who are the same age. However, they are different from them. Jamie expresses her dislike towards the students that come from affluent families and could pay their way through anything. Green boy, her ambitious best friend, convinces Jamie to help him break into an experiment laboratory within the university’s boundaries. Green boy attacks the scientists inside and runs off campus with Jamie. They are almost caught by security but stow away in a van and drive to a local pharmacy. Green boy holds the pharmacy at gun point. The victims inside begin fussing with Green boy, some even attempt to escape from through the front doors only to get gunned down police. The boy and girl somehow are able to avoid the police and leave with the upper hand down into the sewers. Inside the sewer realm, Jamie and Green boy accidentally meet an aggressive homeless man. The man scolds Jamie for dropping a bottle on him, but also tells about him getting tricked into selling his drugs. He needed the drugs to communicate with “aliens”. The homeless man tells Jamie the story of a suited man coming into the sewers offering the homeless food. The people that ate the food would quickly fall asleep and were pulled into the shadows the man. Later, they would turn up with their eyelids missing. The people then tried to the homeless man to cut his eyelids off as well. The strange conversation continues until Jamie and Green boy tire and descend back into their resting place.

    Jake, a man imprisoned sits in his cell. Blank. His failed attempts at suicide were told, and he ends up giving up. He is then approached by a small cockroach that quietly invaded his cell. Jake is blithe at this notion and attempts to claim the cockroach as his own. He was afraid of the roach leaving, and him being alone and abandoned. Jake begins to fantasize about falling in love with the roach and the endless literature that he would write on his/her behalf. When Jake attempts to befriend the roach, a toxic smoke enters the room. Jake refuses to give up the insect and shouts in despair. The room overfilled with smoke until a woman in a green suit is presented strapped to the ground. Jake realizes in order to save his roach friend and leave the room, the woman must be the key. Jake brutally rapes the woman until her true face is revealed, Jamie. The doors of the prison cell open and Jake and his roach are able to escape.

    The continues as the initial main characters are introduced. Each scenario revolving around Jake, Elis, Green boy and Jamie connecting another to piece to the puzzle. Green boy and Jamie realize their worth in the world and attempt to make another tear in the universe similar to that of Elis'. They do so, but the tear is not large enough for them to escape entirely. During this journey, they come of up with an idea to do a “take-over show”. This show involving gathering mass amounts of people in hopes of helping them stretch the tear so they can escape. They call this plan, Blubber Island. After Jake's escape from the hospital, he stops in the middle of nowhere on a highway. He captures of group of Indians and is invited to join their activities. Jake comes in the middle of a ceremony for an infant that had died early. The tribe was mourning the child's death and attempts to explain the meaning of the celebration to Jake. The death of the baby was compared to that of a bird's death by tourists and it's children starving. Jake gets high with the Indians and eventually leaves them.

    Elis is reunited with the old man at random. Elis tells the old man that he had forgotten who he was, but then realized it was the same man from dream. The old man tells him the reason for him invading his dream was because of the danger humanity was in. Elis still doesn't understand what he means. The man explains that the evolution of the universe is now conscious of it's existence, therefore defying the law of physics. The mind is merely a building block and is now attempting to evolve into something else. He tells Elis of the tear that is slowly altering and ripping apart the reality around him. Elis interrupts the old man and tells him he has lost the dream. The old man is bewildered and attacks Elis for dooming the entire existence of the human race.

    Once their intense battle subsided with a rainstorm, the old man tells Elis of “collective unconscious”. A psychic universe in which human experience connects everyone. A place that he prefers to call, Blubber Island. The old man longs to go there, as the mind is in it's most fragile state and highly unpredictable. A spiritual realm that has its own demons as well. A place that also interacts with the real world. If violence occurs in the real world, the event manifests itself in Blubber Island. This is the same for Blubber Island as well. The positive and negative things that happen there, also come to light in reality. The old man had found Elis' tear, as it was so big it made his own journey unnatural. The tear grew larger and larger until the old man had to interfere. The tear had become so big that corrupt creatures not only exist in Elis' mind, but his reality as well.

    Jamie and Green boy began their take-over show. A large band began player, accompanied by hoards of punks and other bystanders. The music suddenly turned angry and sour. Jamie was confused. The audience began going mad. Stomping to death those who accidentally were pushed into the crowd. People smashing into each other. Punching, kicking. All out chaos ensued. Mounds of blubber globs arose and began being thrown around the crowd. Everything and everyone was being destroyed. The police attempted to handle the event, but were pummeled to death. Jesus appears and tells the audience of how he has given up and wants time for himself. He then leaves, and random pedestrians attempt to claim the title of the All Mighty. Suit appears and summons a horde of zombies on the crowd. Chaos continues until of Green boy, Jamie and Elis all meet face to face. Elis attempts to let a bomb off in order to “fix” everything, but is stopped by Green boy. Jamie realizes that Green boy was drunk with a sense of invincible power and gives the bomb back to Elis. As Elis is about to set the bomb, he is eaten whole by a giant. Suit captures Green boy and attempts to eat him as well, but is stopped by Casper who appears at random. Suit tells Jamie he will give her back Green boy if she gives him the dream. She refuses and shoots Suit whilst receiving Green boy. Suit begins laughing maniacally as he slowly dies. Casper is in distraught. Green boy is bleeding through his neck. Jamie is left in shock of what she has done. This triggers the end of the world.

    Blubber Island has a wide variety of characters whose own stories are told every few chapters. Somehow, these stories are all connected. Each of the characters come from different backgrounds, but all have a similar goal. The reader is unable to tell which character knows who, or if they know each other at all. In the beginning of the book, it can be assumed that the stories are completely different between chapters, but as the book carries on, the connections between each character is known. These links are either made known between dialogue or through hints until the very last chapter.

    The initial main character is Elis. A science professor at a university who seems to be unsure of himself. He maintains a cocky attitude on the outside while having endless reflection in Blubber Island. Elis is the root of Blubber Island. His decisions in life affect the realm, and could possibly doom of all humanity. The book centers around his own selfish needs and how he takes to being the most important piece to the complex world of Blubber Island. Upon his supposed death, his importance his highlighted.

    Green boy could be seen as a younger, reckless version of Elis. He acts on his own terms, not thinking about the consequences of his actions. Green boy is another player in the game Blubber Island hosts. The boy gets thrills from the harmful chaos his tear in the universe causes and doesn't seem to mind it. The bigger his tear gets, the madder he becomes. His sociopathic ways are seen upon the uprising of the take-over-show.

    Jamie is the only relevant female character of the cast and seems to be the most sane despite her condition. Her origin is of an abusive home on the countryside. Jamie ran away from home after becoming fed up with her drunkard father and nonchalant mother. She was able to fend on the streets for herself, creating new names and stories for her upon each meeting. She meets Green boy and is instantly attached. They become two halves of a whole.

    Jake, an oddly written character with an indefinite background. His reasons for jail time are unknown. But his disparity for human contact give hint that he was a resident in prison for a long time.When he escapes from prison, his personality is seemingly normal. However, he is the most absent character out of the main quad. This could be because of his need to establish himself from once a mentally insane prison occupant, to a normal acceptable man.

The main conflict in this story is person vs. self. The four main characters are constantly in battle with their need for self pleasure. They take drugs in order to enter Blubber Island in an escape from the real world. This is shows the character's true selfishnesses. As they continually sin in the real world, they are affecting Blubber Island. The tears they created only get bigger and bigger, causing humanity to become potentially extinct. The characters do not seem to care how their actions affect a mass majority and do as they please.

    Green boy seems to be my favored of the vast majority. Despite being a very selfish and arrogant person, his actions are what really drew me into this book. Green boy always had a goal and would stop at nothing to reach it. He was unbreakable and stubborn at most. The plans and ideas he came up with most likely would have not worked in the real world, but it was nice being able to use my imagination through Green boy's. Green boy isn't a perfect character. He has nooks and crannies and open wounds that would usually make a reader look in the other direction. But his annoying imperfections are what makes him a roughly lovable character.

    Readers should definitely feel a sense of entertainment and a “thirst for more” after reading Blubber Island. Yes, this book isn't perfect, but if an author is able to make me reread a paragraph and go “What exactly did I just read?”, then the book was written right. For future writers, Blubber Island is a great introduction into figuratively writing gore and physiological scenes.

    A theme that isn't major, but is surely relevant is friendship. Jamie and Green boy stick together through thick and thin. They treat each other as family despite having contrasting personalities. Towards the end of the book, when Jamie realizes the trouble Green boy has caused, she still sacrifices the entire planet for the sake of him. Friendship isn't a big topic isn't this book, but is surely alive in between the lines and in small parts of the story. Between the gunshots and gore, there is still affection and love between the characters.

     The characters in this story weren't exactly the most relatable human beings. But they did have moments, even if they were split seconds, that I could connect with. In the very beginning of the book, within Elis' dream, he says “I'm sick of humanity. This is why I came here-to get away from everyone...”. After finishing this book and seeing the type of person Elis can be, I was able to spot a contrast in this quote and his further demeanor. Elis is in a extremely fragile state with in dream. He expresses not his hatred of humanity, but of his dislikes towards the people who wronged him. It clearly angers him, but at the same time, saddens him. Throughout the entire story, there is not a moment when Elis is emotional except at this point. I never like to be seen in a vulnerable state, like Elis. Our true personalities are completely different than what we portray to the rest of the world. However, when we get in a comfortable state within ourselves or someone else, our true thoughts come pouring out.

    On another spectrum, it was rather difficult to relate to anyone else in this book. The situations and characters were so goofy that it was hard to try and create a true connection with any of them. One of the main genres in this book is comedy and action, and these aspects outshined the rest of the characters. The small moments in the book are what when the components of reality come in and the reader is able to make a true connection.

     In all honesty this book was breathtaking. It had it's weird moments, events that even made me question what the author was thinking about when writing. But overall, it was a book that really made me question myself. Sure, it definitely wasn't what I was expecting when originally reading the summary on the back. But I guess that's what made me appreciate the book much more after all. However, this wasn't a perfect book. Yes, it is one of my favorites, but there are small aspects that left me confused.

    The main weakness that this book has is character development in my opinion. The characters weren't terrible, but it seemed as though the author mainly focused on writing a face paced, action-packed, psychological thriller that kept the audience engaged. The character's weren't given much depth or background for the reader to feel connected or interested in how they should be perceived. Jamie was the only credible character that was given a background story, despite being a second main character. The rest of the character's seemed to be almost identical in personality’s and how they dealt with their lives. In my opinion, characters should have dimension. Within each chapter of a story, the layers of their being should be unfolded. With Blubber Island, I never felt that.

    I wouldn't change much about this book. But I would definitely change the way in which the rest of the characters are gradually developed. This book would have been just as good, or even better, if characters like Elis and Green Boy were seen not just as faces for each situation they are in, but individually. Also, it seemed that there was a ridiculous amount of bloodshed and detailed gore. This aspect was fine at first, but became repulsive as the story progressed. Most situations, in reality, wouldn't have required loads of blood to seem as gruesome as in Blubber Island.

I do not recommend this book to those who prefer books with deep meanings, long journeys, and characters that have a deep past and connectable personalities. This book is more targeted towards readers that have a wide imagination and a little bit of immaturity to them. Blubber Island is a fun book with entertaining characters and doesn't really have to make an effort to impress the reader. It makes one raise an eyebrow just by existing and being included in a genre of books that most don't necessarily run to read. Discovering this book was a challenge, it was that far down the food-chain of book types that most would look over in a heartbeat. I wanted a specific type of book that was out of my element and could possibly introduce me to a new genre I had not previously explored. This book did exactly that. Every scene and moment was unexpected and kept me engaged. I devoured this book and wanted more after reading. Blubber Island is a great book for those wanting to start out reading a “different” genre of books.

​For the creative portion of this project, I decided to illustrate my own depiction of the four main characters. (From left to right) Jamie, Green boy, Elis and Jake all sit in Blubber Island. A place where they finally feel at ease from the stresses and pressures of the real world. Their escape and use for selfishness. The same place that brought about their doom.