Entertaining, hilarious and poignant coming of age story.
When I picked up this book, I thought it sounded interesting, but what I got was a terrific surprise. I was laughing out loud nearly every other paragraph, despite the dreary circumstances in which the protagonist existed. The story was terrific, the banter was entertaining and the protagonists inner commentary was priceless.
The main character was a sixteen year old kid named Nate McKee who has a contentious relationship with his father, Dec. The Father’s name is Declan but everyone calls him Dec, including Nate he doesn’t like being called Dad. Nate’s mother was an addict and left years ago.
Dec likes to remind Nate how he stayed when Nate’s Mother left. Nate is afraid of Dec though he says that Dec has never hit him. Dec won’t hit a child, but he is not a nice person, especially after too many drinks, and now that Nate is sixteen, he wonders if Dec sees him as an adult and may no longer refrain from hitting him.
Dec is now married to Nance who is eight years older than Nate and they have three year old twins, Jake and Otis. O has some sort of mental deficiency, they say that Jake took a part of O and that is why he is not quite right. The family all says this because Otis has a dent on his chest and Jake has a bump on his. Nate has to sleep in the same bedroom as the twins because his old room is being used as a grow room.
Dec grows weed to fund his drinking and gambling and doesn’t have a real job. The flat they live in is government housing and it smells. Nate’s best friend, Connor Merrick, lives next door and is much tougher than he should be considering he doesn’t have the size to back it up. He is always starting things with the school bullies and getting Nate into situations.
”Yeah, I’m a worrier. I worry about pretty much everything, all the time. I worry about the big stuff: climate change, animal cruelty, the state of politics, boat people, whose finger is on the button, bigness, nothingness, all of it.”
“Some nights I lie awake and think about the universe before it was a universe. Science says there are more than a hundred billion galaxies out there, and several hundred billion stars in our galaxy alone. But how do we know? Who counted? I get why people believe in God; how the fuck did we get here? What if just one of those chemical reactions never happened and we never existed, or what if cats evolved opposable thumbs instead of us? Some days I feel guilty for worrying about the small stuff: schoolwork, no phone credit, no cereal, the holes in my shoes, the stupid sensor light next door that’s been left on for two years straight and beams right into our bedroom window, tricking me into thinking the sun is up when it’s the middle of the night. My circadian rhythms are fucked.”
Nate writes in a journal as a way of getting all the bad thoughts out of his head so he doesn’t explode. He doesn’t show the journal to anyone or plan to do anything with it, he just writes. Nate is a very likable kid it is easy to enjoy his thoughts and his story. He and Merrick often hang out at the local youth center because they would rather be anywhere but home.
The story isn’t about anything in particular but it is also about everything that this kid goes through and his day to day life. His biggest worry is that he is stuck and has no prospects to move anywhere in life, he figures he will end up exactly like Dec.
The story is engrossing because of the humor and things keep happening, though nothing really changes. It is a bit hard to explain, but it was really good and the writing was awesome. I recommend this for just about anyone. There is no romance, but it is truly funny and I couldn’t put it down. I actually fell asleep reading it last night.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.