Testosterone: A Novel is a book written by James Robert Baker. This book already holds a bit of intrigue even before one flips through its pages as it was published only after the author’s death. James Robert Baker died on November 5, 1997, while the book was published in October of the year 2000.
What is the book about?
The book is not about the best testosterone booster pills, but it is aptly named as it can definitely end up boosting testosterone due to its numerous twists and turns. The story revolves around Dean Seagrave, a man who has been dumped without so much as a by your leave by his ex-lover, Pablo whom he thought was just going out to purchase a pack of cigarettes.
Now, Dean finds himself homeless, with his house burned to the ground while being pursued by the police as he desperately searches for Pablo. Throughout this frantic chase, Dean, armed with his tape recorder, discovers unsavory things about Pablo’s past – ties to a cult, a string of former lovers, involvement with the Chilean police, and many more.
The more Dean digs, the more he is gripped with determination to confront his ex. What started off as a search for his lost paramour has now evolved into an unshakeable obsession.
The main character’s POV was presented in such a unique way. Dean tells the story through a series of audio recordings that he captured as he chases after Pablo. James Robert Baker provided such vivid imagery as the reader follows Dean throughout his search. There are two words that come to mind to describe Dean Seagrave – frenetic and obsessed. As the reader, you can’t help but also feel the cocktail of emotions that has overtaken Dean as he uncovers Pablo’s secrets.
James Robert Baker expertly captures Dean’s rapid spiral into utter madness. Dean’s stream of consciousness was hard to follow at times, especially when he stops the tapes and picks up the story hours later which leaves a huge chunk of events unaccounted for. However, this style of storytelling does help the readers immerse themselves in Dean’s thoughts and his state of mind.
There comes a point where you inevitably question Dean’s motives. As each of Pablo’s secrets is uncovered – each more seemingly ridiculous than the last – you may find yourself wanting to believe all of it while simultaneously scoffing at Dean. No one is capable of doing such heinous things, right? Well, in the end, nobody really knows.
With the way the story is told, you can no longer tell what is real and what is a mere product of Dean’s mind. James Robert Baker did a brilliant job of keeping the readers on the edge of their seats.
A word of caution to the reader: there are themes and language that many may find upsetting. One example is Dean’s unflinching use of racist language in referring to Pablo. People who’ve had the pleasure (or displeasure – it depends on who you ask) of reading Testosterone say that the story is difficult to swallow.
All in all, the book evokes strong emotions and is definitely not for the faint of heart. However, if you are willing to wade through such dark themes, then, by all means, add Testosterone to your reading list.