Cover Image: Me & Mr. Cigar

Me & Mr. Cigar

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Member Reviews

The story is a bit convulsed in order but the overall arch is interesting; however, the pacing is dreadfully slow. It made it somewhat harder to read than what it should had been, but even passing all of that, it is a good read.
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I just couldn't get into this book. It felt like it dragged, I had a hard time finishing it. There were so many bizarre things happening that it really takes away from the plot, and felt like the author was just trying to come up with the craziest events possible.
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This was definitely a trippy read for me. I am a huge dog-lover, so I was excited to read a book with a dog as one of the main characters. Sadly, even a cute dog could not save this one. The story was confusing at times, with flashes forward and back that were a little puzzling. I did not find the story very interesting, and it honestly did not seem like a book that teens would get into.  Maybe it would make more sense if I were on something? Or maybe I just wouldn't care about the let-down that this book was for me.
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Me and Mr. Cigar is something; a day after finishing it, I still have no better descriptor than that. It kicks off with a prologue, that could be it’s own short story in disguise, about a young boy who finds a dog and ends up keeping it for himself. It turns out the dog is immortal, and that it has given birth to a creature of sorts that severs the hand of the young boy’s sister, and leaves said sister’s boyfriend with brain damage. This young boy is Oscar, and his dog is named Mr. Cigar. We pick up 5 years later, when Oscar is now 17 and he and Mr. Cigar are still best friends. Oscar and his friend Lytle, aka the clown, have been throwing huge parties and selling drugs to make money, and everything is going pretty great for them. Until… a corrupt cop (Cletus Acox) targets them and their money and drugs, a former government agent (Colonel Sanders) claims Mr. Cigar is government property and he will do anything to get him back, and Oscar’s sister (Rachel) calls asking for help and a measly $35,000 to pay off possible kidnappers.

The chapters are very short (rarely exceeding 3 pages), which made this a really quick read. However, because of these short chapters, if you aren’t paying close attention it might be easy to miss details or get confused about the timing. The story often would jump to a memory without much indication that it was doing so. The story also got progressively wierder the farther along you get. I read a different review lamented that nothing happened in this book, I however would argue that almost too much happened. Haynes kept throwing in another plot point, and some of them were even left behind never to be brought up again. I also really struggled with the dialouge in this one. Dialouge is one of the most difficult writing skills to master, so it is not unsurprising that debut author Haynes’ dialouge would feel forced. However, it often got to the point of feeling completely unrealistic, even cringey.

What I enjoyed most about this book were the characters. Even though there was really no room for character growth here, each of the characters were very intriguing in their own ways. One particular stand out was Carla Marks, the woman who’s ability to communicate with animals helped her invent world changing technologies. And the greatest character in this book, was Mr. Cigar. I know it sounds weird to claim that the dog is the best character in a book, but this book is weird! I loved seeing all the ways Mr. Cigar would interact with the world and help protect Oscar and other characters from the bad guys.

All in all, I’m not sure I would ever recommend this book to anyone. It’s strangeness would be a really hard sell, and if I was looking to hand a teen something this odd I think I could come up with a better choice (Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith anyone!).
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I stopped about halfway through this title and did not feel any compelling desire to finish it.

While I can jump on board with a bizarre story and innovative storytelling, I just didn't think there was enough characterization or plotting, and the dialogue was annoying and half the time...unnecessary.

The first few chapters, told in the character's early adolescence, made me think this was going to be a much different story than it obviously was. 

For readers who want to push through, my best comparison for this title is Dig by A.S. King - the perspectives and characters are equally bizarre, with a touch of magical realism. Personally, King did a way better job with these elements.

This title skews toward high school readers, as there is significant violence, death of an animal, strong language, and drug use/dealing. There were no sexual encounters as of the point that I stopped reading.
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Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for the arc.

I'm going to begin by saying this was a very wild ride and I am glad that it wasn't a very long book.

Why?

-It was confusing. But not a good 'mind game' kind of confusing that some books have accomplished, more so a a drug or alcohol induced confusion. Kind of like if your not so sober friend was telling you story that made very little sense (but gave you a few laughs) though ultimately you just wanted them to finish their story and go away. 

I still found Me & Mr. Cigar amusing, and I believe that there are some students at my school who would like this type of humour and zaniness.

It's just not for me.

2.8/5 stars
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I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. It has a unique plot, and the characters were well-developed and interesting. I especially enjoyed Mr. Cigar in the beginning. As the novel progressed, things got a little strange and confusing.  The main character went from being a boy with his beloved dog, and suddenly he is out picking up DJs and purchasing/selling drugs. At that point, the story kind of lost me. I really wanted to like this book and I'm a fan of Gibby Haynes, but I don't know that I would recommend this novel to my students.
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I can proudly proclaim that I have never, not once in my life, done drugs (taken drugs? See, already the grammar confuses me) but after reading this book, I feel like I have.

Me and Mr. Cigar follows Oscar Lester, a young boy who has spent his entire life with his dog, Mr. Cigar in North Texas. Kind of an outsider, both Oscar and Mr. Cigar have a special bond transcending the human-animal relationship. When Mr. Cigar dies after Oscar’s bully kicks him too hard and is subsequently buried in the backyard, everyone is monumentally surprised when none other than Mr. Cigar pops up again, good as new. Five years later, Oscar – now seventeen -  spends his days with his dog and his best friend Lytle Taylor throwing drug-fuelled dance parties and raking in money. He’s also interning at the mysterious IBC corporation, led by Carla Marks who co-designed a prototype that can make everyone invisible or light up like a luminous sky. And in a roundabout way, the military is highly interested in both that prototype and Oscar’s dog, which they know to be more than just a dog. Then, out of the blue, Oscar’s sister calls him saying she has been kidnapped and needs him to pay the ransom. Running from the people who want to capture his supernatural dog and trying to get the money, Oscar, Mr. Cigar and Lytle go on an adventure like no other.

Reading this book is like one huge out-of-your-mind, have-no-idea-what’s-going-on trip. To quote the protagonist Oscar.

The pitch intrigued me, to say the least. It sounded so absurd that I just knew I had to read the book. The plot was equal parts convoluted and confusing; most of the time we jump from chapter to chapter without getting any resolution or explanation; rather, these are snippets of thoughts or temporary actions that Oscar shares with the reader before moving on to the next crazy thing. Only when it is revealed that Oscar has done drugs for the first time (unwillingly) and experiences a “trip” does the jaded storytelling make sense. The dialogue meanders a lot and drags at points, but again, I feel like this was a conscious choice to simulate how Oscar was feeling while under the influence. This book was a bit too uncontrolled; the twists and turns might have had more impact if the story was more structured and there were some actual stakes involved, but sadly, whenever the plot thickened, Haynes was quick to resolve the tension and break it entirely with unnecessary imagery.

I think the way to approach this book is to not take it too seriously. Haynes writes himself in the foreword that he created the kind of story he would have liked to read as a child, bemusing and controversial and crazy. And he definitely delivered. You’ll need a heavy dose of suspension of disbelief to read this book. From highly-secret technology that can make you invisible, to people losing their hands in a freak accident with an insect a dog bred and two guys robbing a bank while naked – this book really just reads like someone saw a Marvel movie while stoned and decided to write a book in one night. But to be honest, it was kind of fun and by far the most mind-boggling content I’ve ever witnessed. This book is not for everybody and it does feel like a joke most of the time but if you’re a fan of movies like 21 Jump Street, you might find yourself laughing out loud at this one.

All in all, this was by far the weirdest book I have ever read. So, if you’re in search of a book that will turn all your expectations upside down, confuse you with baffling chapter titles (I still don’t understand half the references that were made) or you just need a freaky reading experience, this might be for you!
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The opening of this book is amazing. Readers are going to devour this book. It is excellent with plenty of action and crazy, weird events to keep you interested.
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Oscar Lester knows the Mr. Cigar is no ordinary dog.  They are friends and partners and do life together.  So what if Mr. Cigar appears to be supernatural and telepathic?  It makes their adventures together that much better.

Written for younger teens, this book by Gibby Haynes touches on friendship, companionship, growing up, and contains the element of danger that Haynes hoped would be prevalent in his story telling.  The chapters are short enough to maintain attention and Haynes definitely created an interesting story.

It is fairly shallow writing.  None of the characters appear to have much in the way of depth and the story surrounding Mr. Cigar seems to become a convenient plot tool.  I think Haynes has some interesting ideas here but could have expanded them some more.  As it is the story feels oddly rushed and not particularly exciting.
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A classic tale with a truly fantastical twist, this is a stunning story which at its heart is about one man and his dog. I will say, there are some parts where the story goes a little crazy, but overall, a good read!
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Witty, bold, and hysterical, Me and Mr. Cigar turns the narrative of A Boy And His Dog Featuring The Supernatural on its ear. It's a wonderful, fresh take on a classic idea. Sure to be an instant classic.
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I wanted to like this book; it's about a dog, after all. But one-third of the way through, it became a DNF for me. The author's drug-fueled magical realism was, um, drug-fueled. Not that there's anything wrong with that (*cough*sputter*), but though it made sense in the author's own head, it never made it from his head to the paper in a coherent way. An author cannot surf on the w(hole) of his name and just hope not to end up on his butt.
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Oscar and Mr.Cigar have a place in my heart. The story is different than other things I have read and I love them more for it. Not your typical story about a boy and his dog. The relationship they have created goes way beyond that. I want to say more but don’t want to spoil the insane things these friends go through. I will recommend this to anyone who will listen and can afford the book! Please give me more!!
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