Review: On the Run with Mary by Jonathan Barrow

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About On the Run with Mary

Shining moments of tender beauty punctuate this story of a youth on the run after escaping from an elite English boarding school. At London’s Euston Station, the narrator meets a talking dachshund named Mary and together they’re off on escapades through posh Mayfair streets and jaunts in a Rolls-Royce. But the youth soon realizes that the seemingly sweet dog is a handful; an alcoholic, nymphomaniac, drug-addicted mess who can’t stay out of pubs or off the dance floor. In a world of abusive headmasters and other predators, the erotically omnivorous youth discovers that true friends are never needed more than on the mean streets of 1960s London, as he tries to save his beloved Mary from herself. On the Run with Mary mirrors the horrors and the joys of the terrible 20th century. Jonathan Barrow’s original drawings accompany the text.

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 My Review

Jonathan Barrow demonstrated indescribable creativity and imagination, talented beyond belief. A true tragedy his life was extinguished all too soon, his promise evident in this book, along with accompanying illustrations.

Barrow’s borderline “locker room-potty-juvenile school boy humor” might not appeal to every one, however, his potential cannot be denied. His maniacal, frenzied, stream of consciousness writing forces the reader to take notice. Castration, flatulence, feces, violence are outlandish and off-putting, yet you continue to turn every page. Not exactly my type of humor yet there were occasions I couldn’t stop laughing. His thoughts and humor indeed reflect that of a twenty-two year old male causing you to imagine what’s going on in the deeper recesses of his mind.

The eclectic characters included in his story add to its endearing bizarreness. Their actions, encounters leave you both in awe and perplexed. Mary is the perfect mischief partner, these two cause havoc as they jaunt through London. Barrow stirs in varying shades of humor from the lightest to the darkest with every thing in between, not to mention fantasy, as well as magical realism.

Unknown if Barrow’s humor or intent will fall under your desire spectrum, nonetheless there is genius weaved throughout this preposterous narrative. If only Barrow could have expanded with his writing, such a shame it wasn’t possible. Barrow is gone but not forgotten thanks to this sampling of his artistry, man and work both memorable.

About Jonathan Barrowimage

Jonathan Barrow was born in 1947, north of London. His promising career as a writer and artist was cut short when he was killed at age twenty-two in a car crash alongside his fiancée, two weeks before they were to be married. The manuscript was discovered in Barrow’s office drawer the day after his death.

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