t0wolf, December 15, 2006 (view all comments by t0wolf)
Charles' characters are raw and full of obscure dialogue and irrational thought much like the midwests copy of the Seattle scene. For those that lived through it, the images and situations described incur a "Brainstorm" of thoughts and memories that were once numbed or driven out by the experimentation of drugs and alchohol.
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Recent high school grad Vincent Sweeney, though unmistakably sweet, also masquerades as crass, courts his own demise by baiting bar thugs, nurses rock star fantasies with his band, Judy Lumpers (it's grungy in 1992 Kalamazoo, Mich.), and plays indifferent after losing his virginity in a one-night stand. After flippantly quitting his dishwashing job, Vim (from a childhood mispronunciation) runs up against his stepfather's blue-collar bitterness with quiet acceptance and embarks on a short-distance road trip. Fits of rage and exaggerated lust, tinged with self-loathing, erupt from within a searing numbness, which puzzles Vim, and which he parses using lyrics from the like of Jim Morrison, Fugazi and Nirvana. Charles, in this debut, gives Vim an unevenly self-aware first person, making large portions of the book read like a vague, angry diary; they're dull, but come through as convincingly natural and make moments of connection (as with a bandmate's girlfriend) take on a special glow. (June 16)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Booklist (starred review),
"Charles draws a loving if unforgiving portrait of the seedy, semirural Midwest. His approach — plenty of heart and laugh-out-loud humor — will invite comparisons to Nick Hornby, but let it be said that Charles does it his way."
by Sam Lipsyte,
"As brave and funny a debut as I've read in a long time."
by Thomas Beller,
"Shoots into you like a bolt of electricity, sparking all kinds of excited feelings about art and life and writing."
by Elizabeth Crane,
"Charles will get inside your brain and make sense of it for you once and for all."
by Washington Post,
"Funny and unpredictable...(Charles) proves impressively adept at capturing the inchoate ache of adolescent longing."
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