In this beautifully imaginative collection, young people attempt to negotiate the often surreal terrain of childhood and adolescence where family, friends, clergy, and teachers often pose a threat instead of providing safe harbor. At the heart of the collection is the relationship between the meek narrator, his best friend alpha-male Clip, and the near-feral Roger - but there are also agoraphobic mothers, gorgeous babysitters from New Zealand, paranoid stoned veterans, and deeply sad older sisters.
Ennis has crafted modern-day captivity narratives, set not at some remote fort, but in the neighborhoods of Philadelphia. Using cinematic imagery and deft characterization, Ennis explores how we often feel confined and yet, find ourselves in places we least expect.
I am not sure what I expected when I picked up this audiobook, but it wasn't what I got. The author takes a collection of bizarre life stories and gives them a weight that will pull at you.
This is essentially a collection of short stories about the same group of people throughout their lives. The stories, however, are non-linear. I do not mean that they jump around. I mean the characters' backstories and their relationships with each other vary from story to story. But there are common themes running throughout. The characters manage to be both the same and different in every story. It was very different and very interesting. The effect was not a collection of short stories, but of one complete story. Maybe the only story. The author manages to use funny stories about adolescent boys to make you feel the the weight, the pull, of existence. That sounds pretentious, I know. But that's how I feel right now after finishing this audiobook. Heavy. Not in a bad gloomy way, but in a 'this has significance' sort of way.
I think the most amazing part of this is that the author pulled me through this metaphor, this existential type journey and I didn't even feel it. It didn't feel pretentious while it was happening, if you get me. (Anyone else having a hard time reading Koontz these days?). I laughed, I was uncomfortable, and there was some 'holy shit!'. Basically, I enjoyed listening to a book. But I came away with more. I can tell I will keep thinking about this one.
The narrator did a great job as well. No problems. Except maybe his Philly accent sounded a little New York ;)