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5.0 out of 5 starsDark, amusing, searing, heartbreaking, frustrating
Reviewed in the United States on March 22, 2018
The deeply flawed lead character takes you on a journey through their subconscious with Jon Bon Jovi as his guide and sidekick. At times you'll empathise with his heartbreak, others you'll be annoyed by his lack of perspective on his plight. The life Dalton brings to each different setting adds drama and suspense, with amusing asides provided by Jon. I enjoyed the surrealist nature of the narrative and the richness of the world Dalton creates and was sad to make it to the final page.
I've always loved Dan's articles so I was really excited to learn he was working on a book. I knew it would be good, but I didn't know it would become my favorite book ever. It's trippy, funny, heartbreaking and surreal all at once. I couldn't put it down. Buy.this.book.
I loved this book. Its a beautiful journey looking into the soul of the narrator. Its raw, real and will make you look back at the events that have shaped who you are. Definitely recommend to anyone, highly recommend listening to Bon Jovi or Joy Division while reading.
Okay, I will admit Johnny Ruin by Dan Dalton confused me. It was in the best possible way. I mean how many books that discuss mental health use a mystical figure of Jon Bon Jovi as a spirit guide? Not many, I can tell you.
The story is about a man struggling to deal with his mental health – this is at its very base level but what is developed throughout the narrative is that our protagonist looks at the things that have happened in his life that have been catalysts to his depression or t the things that have led to his depression. It looks at how mental health problems are not quick fixes, they are constant and rolling and you will have good times and bad times. It looks at how the pit of despair can be so vast that you can only see the darkness and not the light at the end of the tunnel.
Chock full of metaphor and allegory, Johnny Ruin is a great short read for anyone who is able to suspend their disbelief. If you struggle with that then Johnny Ruin may not be for you. If, however, you wish to get a more in-depth look at depression then this may give you a small insight into what it is like for one person.
5.0 out of 5 starsGorgeous, gripping, heartbreaking
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 25, 2018
I loved “Johnny Ruin”. It’s a brave debut that is raw, real, poignant, funny and heartbreaking - and it’s written in prose that manages to be at once fresh, gorgeously striking and very readable. It’s quite high concept, but don’t let that put you off - you’ll be along for the ride from the first page. This is a gripping mindscape to get lost in, with so many themes to ponder long after you’ve finished reading. I couldn’t put it down.
5.0 out of 5 starsso sharp and witty, but at the same time communicates such vulnerability
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 10, 2018
I’d fallen for Dan Dalton’s writing within the first chapter of Johnny Ruin. It’s so sharp and witty, but at the same time communicates such vulnerability, and a warmth that makes you care deeply about the protagonist and his Jon Bon Jovi. The book tackles a lot of big subjects, but one of the themes that really resonated with me was how the best experiences in life are always somehow intensely wonderful and deeply sad at the same time. There’s so much vitality, the story jumps off the page – which is all the more impressive given that the action takes place entirely in the protagonist’s head – and the hidden pop culture references are a delight to discover.