For a book that started out with a lot of breezy and absurdist humor, Title 13 takes a sharp dive straight into heartbreak and sorrow. Heald is an office cog with a fierce sense of humor, slogging away at the census bureau; he's half in love with a coworker, somewhat inconvenienced due to a recent security breach, and desperately casting about for some meaning in his small life. When there's an illness in his family, Heald returns to his childhood home, and things begin to seriously fall apart.
Exploring themes of addiction, loneliness, self-protection, and the facade we present to the world, Title 13 packs a much bigger punch than I originally expected. The best of authors would be hard-pressed to write such a painful account of a life slipping into alcoholism, but Ferro does a beautiful and wholly devastating job. Heald's story carries with it an urgent hope of redemption; it's intense, but Ferro will hold your hand to the end. Do not miss this gorgeous read. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A timely investigation into the heart of a despotic government, TITLE 13 is a darkly comic cautionary tale of mental illness and unconventional love. The novel deftly blends satirical comedy aimed at the hot-button issues of modern society with the gut-wrenching reality of an intensely personal descent into addiction.
Young Heald Brown might be responsible for the loss of highly classified TITLE 13 government documents--and may have hopelessly lost himself as well. Since leaving his home in Detroit for Chicago during the recession, Heald teeters anxiously between despondency and bombastic sarcasm, striving to understand a country gone mad while clinging to his quixotic roots.
Trying to deny the frightening course of his alcoholism, Heald struggles with his mounting paranoia, and his relationships with concerned family and his dying grandmother while juggling a budding office romance at the US government's Chicago Regional Census Center.