It’s been a wild ride watching Will Leitch grow as a writer. I’ve been reading him since his early Deadspin days and followed the growth of his career. Like a lot of writers who had success young, he had a choice of whether or not to be trapped forever in the enjoyable-but-inevitably-forgettable writing mindset of stale beer and bong hits. Or he could grow and find new avenues.
And found them, he did as he moved on to popular magazines, podcasting, a TV show (cut tragically short by the VC vultures at Sports Illustrated). He’s always been a good writer; his maturity has allowed him to be a great one. And now, with this second novel set in this Athens, Georgia verse, he’s established himself as a consistent bestselling fiction scribe.
Knowing Leitch’s work so well, I was prepared for what I got: heaping doses of empathy, healthy characterization, and an examination of the human character that tries to be fair and balanced. And that’s what this is to a T. The result is very good. It’s a book that slowly advances its plot (but not to the point of boredom), allowing you more than enough time to learn and care about the characters who imbue the story.
I did like this one more than How Lucky. I enjoyed that one but this one is deeper, meatier, more realized. I do think it saturates with the characterization to the point where they feel more like New York Times profiles as opposed to real people involved in a story that’s moving. Still, as someone who loves Leitch’s writing, I enjoyed it.