Sarah Melton on PB Gookenschleim’s Beanum Infinitum

BOOK REVIEW:  “Beanum Infinitum – Book 1” by PB Gookenschleim

– Reviewed by S. Melton

The premise of “Beanum Infinitum” is a unique and fascinating idea – to explain the basic concepts of existentialism, with references to advanced physics and astronomy and a sprinkling of absurdist humor throughout – and all in the format of a whimsical childrens book. While some aspects of the total creation are flawed, those who take the time to read this unique piece of literature may find it to be “A Legume in the Rough”.

A couple of things the reader will want to know before purchasing and/or reading this book on Amazon. First, while this story is in a 44-page childrens book format, it is not a book for young children. Or at least, not for children whose parents would mind reading the f-word occasionally interjected at somewhat random moments. Also, while the book is available as a self-published finished work via AuthorHouse, the author describes it as “more of a promotional issue”, which explains the intermixed pencil drawings and hand-written side notes alongside the cleaner-formatted text and color illustrations.  I would love to see this book re-imagined with a professional illustrator, for while the penciled-in doodles seemed to serve as more of a distraction than a descriptor of the story, you could also easily see what the author was portraying.

That being said, the premise itself was unique and engaging. A story within a story, an ancient storyteller spins the tale of Beanitrio, a tiny sentient pinto bean living on the planet Refry (in the Charro Way Galaxy – sensing a theme yet?), who is coming to terms with his own self-awareness and the world around him. His journey of discovery grew, as he discovered more each day about the world, the galaxy, the universe around him. His emotions ran wild with each new revelation, from joy and excitement to loneliness and desperation. Then, as the mysteries of “How” unfolded, the ever-looming question of “Why?” was revisited time and time again as he struggled to find his purpose and place in his strange and wondrous surroundings.

On a personal level, it almost felt as if there were two people writing the book – like the majority was painstakingly penned by a learned, highly intelligent and introspective philosopher, but with a nine year old child with a head full of poo and fart jokes (the kind that said child is convinced will NEVER get old) looking over their shoulder and interjecting his/her two cents every so often.  Sometimes this combination serves to add a little levity to an otherwise deep and intense existential dilemma – but more often it’s an unwanted (by this reader, at least) detraction from the flow of the prose and substance that kept it truly interesting.

All in all, “Beanum Infinitum: Book 1” is definitely worth a look for those wanting to dip their toes into the realm of existential philosophy without any of the stuffiness or forced intellectualism that sometimes runs hand in hand with it.  It’s definitely among the more ‘especial’ tales out there, and leaves the reader wondering what situations could possibly be in store next when Book 2 hits the shelves.

Beanum Infinitum may be purchased here:

2 thoughts on “Sarah Melton on PB Gookenschleim’s Beanum Infinitum

  1. Ms. Melton, I am so overjoyed to come across an unsolicited review especially after relentless attempts to convince my potential readers that my book is worth reading. And a positive review at that!

    First of all, you are correct an all aspects of your analysis which is commendable as I have been very worried that I had made this book too cryptic. This has been mostly due to the limited feedback that I’ve had to work with in order to further adjust the tone in which I write.

    I am relieved that you were aware of the fact that this version of my book is indeed a promotional issue, but I must admit I can’t remember where it is that I disclosed that information. Having two jobs and severe sleep apnea, not to mention the blissful agony that any creative endeavor brings, left me with a minuscule amount of time to actually work on the prose of my book. This is a major reason why it took two years to write. Purchasing a publishing package from Authorhouse that only warranted 10 personalized illustrations, I had to resort to my ability or should I say inability to illustrate the pages I felt were simpler and corresponded with said inability. However, I did not succumb to despair because I felt my illustrations added a homely, balanced, and indie aspect to the text. Balance being my main objective of the levity you described.

    I suspected early on that my target audience would be ages 17-24, my facebook fan page has managed to confirm this which was the basis for the type of humor I chose. I took my queue from contemporary mediums of post structuralist philosophy such as Adventure Time, Futurama, most Anime, most Adult Swim programming, and of course South Park. The book is after all dedicated to the poop that took a pee. That line coupled with the choice to make my character a sentient pinto bean came from my personal opinion of a lot of children’s fiction. I kept reminding myself that it was not too silly as the world had already been introduced to a, “Brave Little Toaster.”

    Having said all that, I enjoyed your review and most certainly agree with my favorite aspect of it; which is that this book most certainly needs a reimagining, with a proper artist and an experienced editor to perfect the prose. It would be ideal that such a thing might be possible before Book 2, but if not, then I’ll dust off my color pencils and chuckle silently to myself as I imagine an annoyed expression from an unexpected fan.



  2. Ms. Melton I scrolled through the archives of my email accounts and now remember. I did solicit this review and read over what I sent you. Once again, thank you. Also, “Legume in the Rough,” was hilarious!

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