Limbs: A Love Story by Tim Meyer
Publisher: Grindhouse Press | Release Date: Feb. 9, 2019 | Pages: 169
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ray Bridges has a very particular predilection when it comes to dating. He’s an acrotomophiliac, someone who can only derive sexual gratification from amputees or from fantasies involving amputees. Whole and able-bodied, Ray prowls amputee support groups with one arm hidden beneath his clothes, hoping to pick up disfigured women for one-night stands.
Throughout the course of Limbs: A Love Story, the latest from Grindhouse Press and author Tim Meyer, Ray frequently assures us — and himself, certainly — that he is not a monster. Although he earnestly believe this, Ray does enough questionable things and has enough questionable fantasies that make this an oftentimes dubious claim, especially as he becomes more and more blinded by love.
Love makes you do all kinds of crazy things, makes you have all kinds of insane thoughts and odd worries. It’s a highly potent chemical reaction that can mess with your brain in the best and worst of ways.
When Ray meets Kayla, he falls hard for her, their spontaneous romance a whirlwind of heady emotions and the really good kind of frayed nerves. There’s just one problem… Kayla is not an amputee, and no matter how much Ray loves her, he just can’t get over that particular detail. No matter what his heart says, his brain, and one other highly particular organ, just will not follow. He needs to find a way to keep her forever, though.
But Ray is not a monster. Or so he says.
Limbs is billed as a love story, and it certainly is that. While it has flashes of horror and plenty of dark fiction blood running through it, it is an honest to goodness exploration of romantic love. It is, at its core, a love story, and Limbs follows the usual tropes of a love story, even if its approach is welcomingly unusual and strange.
Limbs is also a neat exploration into Meyer’s elasticity as an author. While I’ve only read one other title from him, the excellent The Switch House, these two books couldn’t be more different from one another. Meyer exhibits both breadth and depth as a creative, and he’s far from a one-trick pony. He’s great at building characters and dynamic situations to place them in, and I found myself rooting for Ray and Kayla to succeed, even as I was never quite sure what such a success would entail. I wanted them to work out their differences and find happiness, but I also found myself horrified at what that might mean for them and the lengths Ray may go in order to cement their relationship.
Meyer walks a tightrope here, creating a character in Ray who is both sympathetic but also highly, highly questionable and damaged. You’re never quite sure if Ray is going to become the monster he so frequently rails against or not. You want to like Ray for all his human flaws, but you’re also ready to turn against him at the drop of a hat if he, and Meyer, isn’t careful. And if, knowing what we do about Ray’s history and his deepest inner thoughts, wanting him to win over and keep Kayla in his life, we have to wonder who exactly is the monster — him or us?
Meyer gives us a fun and quirky cast, people we can cheer for and relate to despite their flaws and proclivities, but he also gives a very human monster, even if we’re never quite sure who that monster is. Regardless of how demented it is at times, Limbs is most certainly a love story, and an earnest one at that. It’s also unlike any other love story you’ve read before.