Herb ‘n’ Lorna

Kraft, Eric. Herb ‘n’ Lorna. New York: Amazon Encore, 2010.

I like beginnings that come out of nowhere and give the reader a resounding slap. Picture this: it’s the preface and our hero, Peter Leroy, gets a boner at his grandmother’s funeral. It’s worse than that because he’s not hunkered down in a pew. While up in front of fellow mourners, delivering the eulogy, he has to find a way to shift his painfully positioned penis without anyone noticing. Talk about uncomfortable! Sounds like one of those dreams when you are standing in front of the class naked, trying to recite the Gettysburg address. If I were a boy I would be cringing to read all this in such detail; instead I’m a giggling girl.
Kraft is well…crafty when it comes to Herb ‘n’ Lorna. It’s the cleverly told biography of the title’s namesakes told from the point of view of their grandson, Peter. He fills in the gaps with an “interview” with an old friend of his grandmother’s. Herb and Lorna were not your average grandparents and their life together was far from ordinary despite outward appearances to the contrary. Herb was a salesman with a passion for tinkering. He liked gadgets and he liked inventing. Lorna was an artist, skilled at carving. Independent of the other they both became involved in the creation of “course works”, little trinkets depicting erotic sex acts disguised as charms or jewelry or buttons or pocket watches. For example, Lorna carved buttons which subsequently were secreted into Red Cross care packages; sent to “cheer” the troops during the war. Herb upon receiving one such button, took these course goods a step further and gave them movement through mechanical engineering. They both picked up the trade from an uncle. They both used this secret work as a means to make extra money. How they got away with living parallel lives without the other finding out seemed a little unbelievable at times.
What makes Herb ‘n’ Lorna such a joy to read is the characters themselves. They are complicated and endearing and their relationship sticks with you long after the last page is read. And I agree with the author, read the preface!

Reason read: I guess there are two reasons for reading Herb ‘n’ Lorna. Eric Kraft was born in the month of February, so that’s reason #1. Reason #2: Herb ‘n’ Lorna is cataloged as a romance at the Monson Free Library. Valentine’s Day = romance = Herb ‘n’ Lorna. I would go a step further and almost call it erotica. It certainly is naughty! 😉

Lines I liked: Oddly enough, even though I loved the book I never thought to quote anything from it.

Book trivia: There was a lot of inner debate about in what order I should be reading Kraft’s “voluminous fiction.” There is the way Pearl recommends: in the order the stories were written and published first (beginning with Little Follies. Then there is the order I chose: in order of the saga. The entire saga (according to Kraft) is first introduced in Herb ‘n’ Lorna. According to Kraft’s website, there is no wrong order and in fact you can start with any book you want.

Author fact: Eric Kraft’s website is as interesting as his writing. You can visit it here. There is a whole section dedicated to Peter Leroy.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called ” Eric Kraft: Too Good to Miss” (p 141).



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