Some books are quick reads because they’re easy. Others are quick reads because we’re compelled to finish them.
This is not an easy book. It’s tough and it’s unflinching and it’s honest on a gut level that can be discomforting. The protagonist Pat’s oft-repeated refrain of remembering to do what’s kind instead of what’s right is a quiet condemnation of mainstream society as a whole, and of the way people with mental health issues are treated (and expected to act).
I’m a fan of books told in first-person POV. That form of narrative lends an immediacy to things and in this case it’s a perfect way to gain insight into Pat’s frame of mind at any given time. The way the minutiae of his life is woven into the greater story is done beautifully, and I really appreciate the ultimately unresolved nature of the story because it rings true. The lesson that not everything has a silver lining is one that’s brought home pointedly so many times throughout the book, which is fitting.
I gave this book four stars because of its direct and sometimes brutally honest nature. I expect the story to haunt me, as the best stories do. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s also gently uplifting.