Debt and divorce have Freddie constantly on the run, working around the clock to stay not even a full step in front of creditors and despair. He’s broke, near broken, and past desperate.
Darla somehow finds it within her to go to the hospital every day to watch her son slip away from her—for the second time. “The life he knew before the bomb no longer existed,” and now he wants out of the fog of this new one.
In an interview with NWBookLovers, Willy Vlautin said, “It’s the strong people like Pauline, Darla, and Freddie, who try to save the people that aren’t quite strong enough to make it on their own. I wrote them to remind myself to be good to the people close to me, and to remember that even when you’re down and out you have to be kind, you have to remember to try and be decent and keep your humanity.”
Vlautin wants us to feel for his characters. He wants us to feel through them. But he doesn’t want us to feel sorry for them. They’re the survivors, the heroes, and they deserve to be honored.
—NWBL contributing editor Brian Juenemann
We’re posting about each of the books shortlisted for the 2015 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award. For all our 2015 PNBA Award coverage, click here.
This review was adapted from the Feb. 2014 edition of “The Local Shelf,” in the Register-Guard.