As I saw the saw my Goodreads Reading challenge accusatorily tell me how many books I am behind right now (6!!) I panic searched for something I could do via audio while going on my many social distancing walks. This came up on my local library app as “available now” and a cursory search showed me that folks I like had it in their to read piles, so on I went. Once again, I found myself unknowingly entering a book set in Chicago (where I presently reside, as a Midwestern transplant), and for me that makes it all the richer experience.
This book is about a son, abandoned by his mother in the 60s, looking for answers, but also maybe looking to cash in on her present day misfortune. But this book is also about a young girl, with promise and potential, who lived a small life due to mysterious circumstances. But this book is also about a vapid college student, cheating her way through life AND a crooked politician AND it’s a commentary on celebrity and free love and responsibility and politicizing of every day events. So what I’m saying is, it’s a lot, and you are always wondering a little what it’s “really” about, but it works.
In my review I also ticked the Comedy/Humor box because I found this book to be extraordinarily funny. The bits with the college student in particular, the narcissist to end all narcissists, were the best. Not to mention the gamer Pownage, and his inability to see his reality. Much credit should also be given to the narrator, Ari Fliakos, who positively killed it. He really brought each character life with inflection and delivery that made for a richer experience.
Goodreads tells me that readers of this book also enjoyed There There by Tommy Orange and Less by Andrew Sean Greer. That totally tracks, though this book is much closer to Less than There There, so if the stark ending of There There set you off, don’t worry because though not filled with sunshine-y happy endings, this novel wraps up as satisfactorily as it should have, and could have, for its characters.