Book Review - A Long Drunk by Eric Coyote

As a writer trying to get noticed I am grateful to live in this technological era. There are so many options available to writers now - including self-publishing. It goes without saying that it's extremely difficult to get published via traditional routes. Now with Amazon and even Barnes and Noble's Nook, writers can go forward and publish their works as e-books. I'm going to review my YA novel yet again, this time with my sharpened vision, then attempt publication through conventional means a few more times. If that doesn't work I will self publish.

A great way to get noticed by utilizing the e-book medium is word of mouth. As I mentioned in the Hair posting, Eric Coyote e-mailed me his book The Long Drunk, and asked me to review it after reading my review of American Psycho. I was supremely flattered, and delighted to get a free book to read. I finished it just after returning from the Easter reunion and this week was able to compose my thoughts...




This is a quick, entertaining read. The main character is Murphy - a drunken, homeless, ex-NFL player. Murpy's beloved rottweiler Betty, is hit by an SUV. He rushes her to a vet, who stabilizes her but also discovers she has cancer. He informs Murphy the cost of the treatments will be $15,000, to which Murphy says he needs a week to get together. Earlier, Murphy and his homeless brethren were rounded up by the police for questioning about a murder, that for the past six months they've been unable to solve. While at the cop shop, Murphy sees a poster indicating a $25,000 reward will be dispensed to anyone who can solve the murder. So Murphy sets out to accomplish what the police haven't been able to.

The balance of this novel is a bit skewed. Given the quirky cast of characters, it's definitely a unique whodunit. I was fascinated by the depiction of the homeless sub-culture on Venice Beach and was propelled to keep reading because of their interactions, not to know the answer to the mystery. How well Eric Coyote conveys the gritty, gross reality of street living, as well as loyal camaraderie between Murphy and his homeless "family" tends to highlight the far-fetched aspects of the story, but not to a detrimental degree. It's easy enough to push aside the few quasi-believable parts because the characters are so strong. My heart broke for Murphy when he was faced with his impotence at being unable to do more for Betty. And since solving a murder requires interacting with mainstream society, no homeless person is going to accomplish much looking like a homeless person. I'm chagrin to admit it, but the makeover tickled me. I think that's just in the genetic make-up of being female, though. One place Murphy's investigation leads him to is an acting class. An acting exercise is to relate the most humiliating experience of your life. While the story Murphy relays is truly awful, it's one of the most poignant parts of the novel. It also leads to a sexual encounter, after which I chuckled to see the correct use of the word "santorum".

This story is worth your time, if you have the constitution. I don't limit myself with labels or categories, and want to experience all life has to offer - to a degree. After reading this book I've peripherally experienced what life is like for a transient, and have been awakened to aspects of that life I'd never even considered. I want to read more about Murphy. Perhaps the sophomore novel, if there is one, will have a mystery as engaging as the characters.

WHAT'S FOR DINNER?

Tonight's dinner is Angel Hair Pasta with Goat Cheese and Sun Dried Tomatoes. The cheese of the goat is my favorite. It's creamy, tangy AND low cal - for cheese. Sun dried tomatoes are chewy and sweet. The combination of both in this super easy and yummy pasta dish will have your taste buds a-dancing! I do recommend using only about twelve ounces of angel hair, though. The flavors of the sauce and cheese are diluted with a whole pound of pasta. If you're comfortable with your abilities, you could just pump up the ingredients instead of cutting back on the amount of pasta. It takes me several attempts with a new recipe before I'm comfortable enough to tweak it. But go on with your bad self - I wish I could be more like you!


ADDENDUM

I just went to Amazon to publish this review, which I should have done before publishing this, but live and learn! I saw my review of American Psycho and was actually impressed with what my 22-year-old self had to say about it and wanted to share. This is verbatim - I've changed nothing:

I have to say that this has to be one of the most fabulous books I have ever read. With the exception of Apt Pupil, I have never read about such a violently depraved trip into insanity. Ellis has done a phenomoenal job of navigating you through the twisted, rotting mind of Patrick Bateman. If ever there was a story of a lost soul, this is it. Bateman is a paradox of a man, hating the world he lives in and the people that surround him, yet wants to impress and get the approval of those he despises. My favorite example of this is when he and his peers compare business cards. Bateman seems to get little pleasure out of impressing his peers, and has an empty void inside him that needs to be filled. He does this by inflicting all the disgust and disdain he feels in his everyday life through the torture and murder of women ranging from prostitues to old girlfriends. Bateman is also sickened by the poor and destitute, believing they are lazy, disgusting slobs that just want hand-outs from people with money so they do not have to get jobs; and he reacts to those feelings in the same brutally violent manner as with the women he kills. Ellis has created a character that you do not feel any sympathy for, but you pity. This is a man who can not find joy in anything except others' anguish and suffering, and THAT is truly pitiful.







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