Author: Nico Walker
About the Author: Nico Walker is an American writer and US Army veteran currently serving time for bank robbery.
Other Books by This Author:
No. of Pages: 313
Original Publishing Year: 2018
Genre: Semi-Autobiographical, Crime Fiction
Age Rating: 18+, drugs, violence, sex
Positive Review: The prologue got me hooked. It was a nice taste of what was to come and what I could expect from the story. I liked the flow of the writing style, the stream of consciousness. The repetition was alike to the natural flow of thought, as thoughts do often double back on themselves, especially for those under the influence (be it drugs or alcohol). I felt I could really get into the narrator's head. He was portrayed as high and he seemed high, from the way he was describing the world and the inclusion of strange similes. It was easy to follow. The first person narrative also augmented my engagement as a reader and my connection with the narrator. I enjoyed reading the contemporary references, which I easily understood, as they're part of my culture as well, helping me to better relate to the novel. Although the narrator was seemingly detached, I could tell he was traumatized by the events that transpired during his time in Iraq. He never directly admits to being "traumatized," but below the surface, there were clues to his emotional and mental instability.
Negative Review: I found myself mentally editing the writing at times. I was also left wondering what the plot of the novel was. It just seemed to be a lot of his everyday life, without a moment of climax and resolution. The story was a bit depressing to read before bed.
Overall Review: This novel was raw. Nothing was sugarcoated, to the point that I was unsettled at times. It was interesting, but I didn't understand the plot. Was there a rising action? A climax? There were suspenseful events, but I'm not sure if any one of them was THE climax. I liked the kinesthetic imagery but would have appreciated more visual (for characters and setting). I got some Hemingway vibes from this novel, with the short sentences and seemingly detached character. There was also the war and the romance (alike to Frederic and Catherine, à mon avis). The ending was good for the story; it fit with the writing style (short and sweet), but I would have liked to know more. I recommend this novel to others looking for a contemporary and interesting read.
Summary: It's 2003 and as a college freshman in Cleveland, our narrator is adrift until he meets Emily. The two of them experience an instant, life-changing connection. But when he almost loses her, he chooses to make an indelible statement: he joins the Army. And the outcome will not be good for either of them.
As a medic in Iraq, he is unprepared for the realities that await him. He and his fellow soldiers huff computer duster, abuse painkillers, and watch porn. Many of them die. When he comes home, his PTSD is profound. As the opioid crisis sweeps through the Midwest, it drags both him and Emily along with it. As their addictions worsen, and with their money drying up, he stumbles into what seems like the only possible solution−robbing banks.
*Information on author from Wikipedia. Summary from inner book sleeve.