I’ve thought about reviewing Jared Sams’ Jingles Are for Losers for some time now but held off because I wasn’t quite sure what the angle was. It’s easy to say this book is an alternative to the mainstream because it’s a short story, a smaller format size, and just not a normal story. But what’s really great about this book is that it’s a to the point, appropriately sized, well-crafted read about a supernatural figure that makes the ultimate sacrifice for someone else’s happy ending – it’s a story about parenting, kinda.
Sometimes, all that’s needed to tell a story, to get a point across is 12 pages and Jingles Are for Losers is a great example of that. It’s a simple story, not a complex odyssey by any means but it’s efficient. We start with a birth and we end with a death but it’s the life in between that allows the protagonist to have the experiences necessary to make that decision that he comes to in the end. That same efficiency can be a dangerous route.
Much of Jingles Are for Losers is told through montages and the use of existing archetypes. And so, the story often comes close to being a little cliche but it barely escapes this trap with some nice details that can only come from the single perspective of the writer. Specifically, a nice but potentially-too-easy aspect of the story is that it is wrapped in the metaphor of the writer as the author, or at the very least, “chronicler” of reality. This could have gone horribly wrong but it does not clutter the story. In the end, what I’d like to see is a longer, more flushed out version of this story, something that gives the characters the time and attention that they need. But for the time being, this was a fine read.