By: Mary Janice Davidson
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Copyright Date: 2010
Number of Pages: 302
Reason for Reading: M.J. Davidson usually rocks!
Oh nuts. I groaned. It’d be nice if once, just once, Shiro or Adrienne would warn me before she took over the driver’s seat. – Cadence
Cadence was a fool – a fool with exquisitely sensitive hunches. Her hunches were a result of input received by all three of us. She could not consciously remember why a memory tugged at her, why a victim or perp seemed to speak to her, but she knew when it was happening and knew to follow up. It had saved us on more than one occasion. – Shiro
AAAAAAAAND in this corner–The reeeeeeeeigning champion! (Raaaahhh!) (Yeaeeeaaa!!) The Super-Fed with the Triple Head! The Lone Detective with All Perspective! The Power Saw Who Plays the Law AND SMACKS Y-Y-YOUR LOWER J-J-JAW F-F-FREAK (Sleep tight.) AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADRIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENE (Yo, Adrienne!) JOOOOONES – Adrienne
Mary Janice Davidson is primarily known for her Queen Betsy series (think Buffy if she became a vampire but still got to keep her soul-and her shoes) and her Fred the Mermaid trilogy. Both series have heart and lots and lots of funny. Davidson writes very strong female characters who are thoughtful, vain, caring, selfish, witty, clueless and always fearless. Though I technically review paranormal stories for my quirky, quirky book sisters, and not mysteries, I figured anything by Mary Janice Davidson qualifies.
Me, Myself and Why? has an intriguing premise. In 1910 the FBI opened an investigation unit comprised of crazy people. After all, who better to catch the crazies than other crazies? Cadence Jones, who suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder, is a member of this elite crime-fighting unit (BOFFO, I never did find out what it stood for). To break it down in the most elementary way possible: Cadence is the nice one; Shiro is the bitchy one; and Adrienne is most likely to commit seemingly impossible feats of violence (or sexually deviant acts) while singing nursery rhymes. In addition to Cadence, we meet her partner, a complete sociopath, her boss who has an unhealthy obsession with chopping phallic shaped vegetables, her agoraphobic assistant, a couple of kleptomaniacs, and a young woman with Asperger’s. And herein lies the problem.
Though Davidson tries to treat mental illness fairly – (1) each of BOFFO’s agents takes the proper medication and attends mandatory therapy sessions with mixed results, and (2) none of the mentally ill are portrayed as stupid – it’s very difficult to accomplish within the context of her light-hearted tone. The freaks are treated like freaks. They know they’re freaks. And though much of the wink-wink-nudge-nudge humor is definitely self-aware, it also feels…mean.
There is much of Davidson’s trade-mark humor here. No doubt about it, she is wickedly funny and the quips and zings come with lightening speed. She also did a good job finding the different voices of all three of the “Jones sisters.” Each has a very distinct and separate personality and each shift was clear, something that could easily have been a big problem with this concept.
I love me some MJD but the faults are so faulty. I can’t give it the B- I secretly want to just because I like her so much. She gets a C+ because her writing is, as always, johnny on the spot and her jokes made me laugh. In lesser hands this would have been a flat-out F.