Top positive review
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Dark but very funny
on 28 September 2013
Matthew, a forty-something ad executive, has lost his job after 'The Incident' - his wife doesn't know or even care, so he spends his days drinking and taking prescription medication in the parking lot of a grocery conglomerate. Also, Matthew is pretty sure he is dying and starts living like he is. He goes native, dabbles in drug-dealing, pottery and meditation all the while chain-smoking the eponymous cigarettes and ruing the American dream. Will Matthew get it together? Do we even want him to?
Dan Kelly writes as a real straight-shooter, his similes are insightful and witty, peppering the pages with laugh-out-loud moments as we watch Matthew rattle around bankrupting himself. The constant neurotic thought-process the character has is something I am sure everyone will recognise in themselves and hence Matthew really is the everyman generational middle-child, with the self-destructive tendencies to boot. Whilst you root and care for Matthew by the end - his connections with people sometimes grate - it is never really explained how such a fractured character managed to hold it together before he was unleashed on the pages of the book. You might want him to pull himself together at points but often it is more fun watching him tear himself apart - a great dichotomy that holds your intrigue all the way through this 342 page book. There is frequent drug-use, drinking, swearing and some questionable jokes in this, so it may not be for everyone, but I found this a real page-turner. Live or die, I couldn't wait to find out what happens to Matthew and this level of character involvement usually only comes with literature of a higher-calibre.
Recommended for an excellent satire of American society that will keep you chuckling throughout.