I’m a sometime Deadspin reader, and have been a fan of Drew Magary’s ridiculous posts on parenting and the Williams-Sonoma holiday catalog for a few years now. But I thought he was a grade-A jackass when he was on Chopped a few years ago, and kind of took a break from him for a while.
But then I read his book of essays on how his life has changed since becoming a father (and yes, he made me cry with his story about his son who was born extremely premature and is now healthy). I had yet to read either of his fiction offerings, until Audible offered this one for just a few bucks about 10 days ago, and I snapped it up.
I didn’t know ANYTHING about this story before I turned it on, and I’m glad. It wasn’t like anything I had read before, and I’m not even sure I can properly describe it.
But I’ll try. Just a little.
A man named Ben goes to an old resort somewhere in the Poconos for a business meeting. The hotel is a shadow of the glorious resort it must have been once, and is practically empty. But the day is lovely and the scenery is beautiful, so Ben decides to go for a hike.
And then his entire world turns upside-down.
Within minutes, Ben realizes that something is wrong. He sees something horrifying and runs as fast as he can, staying on the path in the woods, trying to get back to the hotel and safety. But Ben can’t find the hotel. No matter which way the path goes, the hotel isn’t there anymore.
So Ben just follows the path.
All Ben wants is to find his way back to the hotel. Back to his wife. Back to his three children. No matter what the cost, Ben has to get back to them.
I can’t really say too much more about Ben’s journey without giving too much away. But the story is much more than the average “man does whatever it takes to get back to his family, overcoming obstacles and personal challenges.” This book takes that to the extreme, in the craziest ways imaginable.
Every time I thought one thing was going to happen, something completely different happened. And it was frequently surprising, and often shocking. But all in a good way. For the last 1/3 of the story, I couldn’t stop listening. I HAD TO KNOW what was going to happen to Ben. Props to Drew Magary for keeping me invested every step of the way.
I was impressed by the crazy world and outlandish characters that he created. Especially crab. I LOVED CRAB AND WOULD READ A MILLION BOOKS ABOUT HIM. He was my favorite crab of all time. Sorry, Sebastian.
And the ending? Mind. Blown.
Seriously. I never in a million years expected that.
I’ll definitely be seeking out Magary’s other novel. I was more than impressed by what I found here. 4 1/2 stars.