I’ve Got a Time Bomb is a novel by a transgender author/ artist Sybil Lamb. The book is focused on Lamb’s personal story and experience in surviving an aftermath of a hate crime, where she was brutally beaten by two men with an iron pipe, and left to die by the side of the road. As a result, she suffered a brain injury. Due to her brain damage, it affected her balance, memory and language abilities. So, I’ve Got a Time Bomb is a novel that documented this traumatic event that Lamb went through. And the book is claimed by the author that it is to be at least 88% true!
I’ve Got a Time Bomb is dramatic, tragic, violent and wild; it also involved a lot of sexual depictions and cursing. Nonetheless, the novel is still very interesting to read. The structure of the book is designed in such an unique way, it matches with the title, in a time-bomb countdown manner, starting from 10 and ending with 0. The protagonist of the novel, Sybil D’Lye (the author adopted her own first name, personalized the story in another level). And of course, the use of wording and the language style is also very interesting to note. The novel challenges the traditional academic, accuracy and professional writing style, and instead, it uses word alternations for words like: “sumthin” for “something,” “bizznizz” for “business,” “cuz” for “because” and others. In addition, word alternation also used in words that represent a country or place, such as “America” for “Amerika” and “Canada” for “Canadia.” Furthermore, the year represented in the novel is also interesting, as the novel is set in the year 286 (note that year in the novel is in 3 digits!). Finally, what I also liked about the book is the art, (Sybil Lamb is also an artist), and the art appeared in between chapters of the book is so dramatic, and fun to look at, also kind of funky, so that definitely stood out.
However, what I didn’t like the book as much is the fact that it had a lot of cursing, it made me feel uncomfortable reading it. However, I do acknowledge and understand the anger and even the frustration and trauma that Lamb must had experienced the trauma and tragedy (of being beaten to death), and having to document such tragedy isn’t an easy task to do. And, the novel also says a lot about the reality and the experiences that transgender people face on a daily basis with regards to gender-based violence (hate crimes) and transphobia.
Finally, I want to conclude by making a connection between Sybil Lamb’s novel I’ve Got a Time Bomb with a song that I think could represent some of the themes in the novel. The song is titled “Pain” by Three Days Grace [Link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ud4HuAzHEUc ], Three Days Grace is a Canadian rock band. I find the lyrics of the song “Pain” says a lot about Lamb’s experience, with the feeling of pain and the feeling of hurt. A lot pain is expressed in the novel, not only physical but also emotional pain as well. Pain, is also an indication that there is still feeling to experience, and when there is no more feelings left, it could meant for the end of something or it could even mean death. Life, is about having or experiencing different feelings, feelings of happiness, of joy or love, but also feelings of anger, sadness, hurt or pain. Traumatic events often cause us pain, but pain may not be always negative, because pain could be a feeling that could turn into courage and strength.
By: The Invisible Vision Project