UNEXPECTEDLY, MILO by Matthew Dicks [Review]

Have you ever had a nagging impulse that just won’t go away? Like making sure the front door is locked? Perhaps you can’t touch a piece of bubble wrap without popping it? Maybe you’ve had the sudden desire to sing the German version of “99 Luftballons” at a karaoke bar? Ok, probably not that last one, but most of us get the occasional urge that’s hard to quash. Now imagine that times a thousand and you start to see why life is pretty difficult for OCD afflicted Milo Slade. The 33-year-old home nurse has spent most of his life feeling like someone else is in control of his brain, and when he gets these strange compulsions, the need to comply with the demands is overwhelming. Feeling pressure to open a jelly jar or bowl a strike in the middle of the night isn’t necessarily rational, but the intense anxiety he suffers until he gives in to the demands is very real.

Even though Milo’s quirks rule his day-to-day life, no one, not even his wife Christine, knows about them. He’s hidden them from everyone, though he begins to suspect maybe he isn’t hiding them as well as he thinks. He and Christine are going through a rough patch and he begins to wonder if his compulsions are at the root of the problem.

While Milo and Christine are going through a trial separation, Milo finds some videotapes left behind in the park. They contain the emotional video diary of a young woman Milo nicknames Freckles. Milo feels a connection with Freckles and decides to track her down so he can return the secret-filled tapes. This leads Milo to break out of his routine and embark on a road trip where he meets a group of fun, quirky characters.

Kind of like Martin in Something Missing, Milo is a lovable, engaging character. Even though he does strange things like keeping jelly jars in his car and singing “99 Luftballons” at karaoke bars, he’s very relatable. The author takes you inside Milo’s head so you can get a feel for what it’s like to be him. Plus, like I said above, we all have our own individual quirks and odd habits, and that’s one of the themes of the book—that even when we don’t realize it, we’ve each done something that seems weird to other people.

The story is really funny too. Milo has an interesting perspective and, as you can imagine, his demands lead to some pretty odd situations. The oddball supporting characters are pretty funny as well, so from Milo rechristening Puggles the beagle as Skywalker to one character’s theory on how geeky guys make better husbands (that’s 100% true, by the way), I was laughing quite a bit.

If you liked Matthew Dicks’ first book, Something Missing, I highly recommend you check out Unexpectedly, Milo. I found both books to be completely charming and I can’t wait to read more from the author.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Broadway | Pages: 352 | Source: Author | Buy on Amazon

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