It’s 1959. Sixteen year-old Alex Housman has just stolen his fourteenth car and frankly doesn’t know why. His divorced, working class father grinds out the night shift at the local Chevy Plant in Detroit, looking forward to the flask in his glove compartment, and the open bottles of booze in his Flint, Michigan home.
| || |
About the author:
Theodore Weesner, born in Flint, Michigan, is aptly described as a “Writers’ Writer” by the larger literary community. His short works have been published in the New Yorker, Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, Atlantic Monthly and Best American Short Stories. His novels, including The True Detective, Winning the City and Harbor Light, have been published to great critical acclaim in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s, The Boston Globe, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, Boston Magazine and The Los Angeles Times to name a few.
Weesner is currently writing his memoir, two new novels, and an adaptation of his widely praised novel—retitled Winning the City Redux—also to be published by Astor + Blue Editions. He lives and works in Portsmouth, NH.
Well, I have to admit, I promised to read this book in order to do the review, but I did not find it an easy read. The book was rather depressing. The main character was just so bleak. And I can understand.. his father was a drunk, he felt directionless, and like nothing he did mattered. He did things without really wanting to and ended up in juvie for a while due to being a car thief.
It was a book filled with the sadness of a child separated from his mother, having his brother removed from his home, dealing with the results of being a thief, being a bit of creepy kid following girls around, dealing with hormones of being a teenager, finally recognizing that he was a lot like his father. He joined the army and needed to deal with his father's suicide right before he went to live at the army. And somehow he knew that being part of the army was the right move.
I didn't like the book.
I found it too... internally focused in a protagonist who didn't really know what he was thinking or doing. His answer to most any question of why was "I don't know". And it was just so pointless.
So many kids deal with alcoholic parents...and it's hard for them. I GET THAT. But the ones I know don't live in a world of "I don't know". It just seemed so hard for him to get beyond that, to finally learn a few things about himself so that he could get on with living his life.
It was good by the end of the book that he seemed to get there .... but I was left wondering if being in the army would kick him out of the "i don't know's" that he seemed to dwell in.
Other people may like the book better than I did so if you like the brooding, dwelling within yourself, first person narration try out this book.
If you like more positive characters and more deliberation in action you may wish to give this one a pass.