Drug user and part time dealer Andrew Nowak never expected anything unusual to happen to him the day he went to the laundry mat to sell some stuff. When the beautiful Audra walked in and asked for him by name (his dealer name anyways), he found that he couldn’t say no. He followed her where she wanted him to go, he did what she wanted him to do, then he couldn’t get his mind off her till he saw her again. Becoming friends, he ended up following her to her home town of Vilnius, Lithuania. Because he didn’t know exactly how to find her, he began by finding a place to stay, a place to drink, and people to hang out with (and do some drugs with). Finally tracking each other down, Drew watched as Audra spiraled out of her mind. She did a lot of drinking, a lot of drugs, but it was more than that and after the death of her father, she lost it completely. Witnessing all this and more, Drew decided to go home - but that is not the end of this strange and unpredictable story.
Goodness, that was a difficult book for me to read. I really tried to like some of the characters, any of the characters (ok, I did like grandma - kind of), but I found them to all be written (best way to describe it ) too quickly, too much happened in too short of time - it just kept moving. There wasn’t much depth to any of them. Some of the characters had back stories, memories of the past or quick little tales of ‘how come’, but I found no way of connecting with any of them on any level. I have to point out that it had nothing to do with the complete submersion of cultural slang’s, the extreme use of profanity, the graphic sexual descriptions, or even the heavy drinking and drug use. This is suppose to be a fictional novel, it has the feel of a guy retelling the tale of the strangest couple of years of his life. The narrative is written in the same trash-talking crude vernacular that the main character (and nearly everyone else) speaks. While some places in this book show how misunderstandings or miscommunications can lead to the strangest situations, most of the book came across as a poor representation of some people and places in parts of both Illinois and Lithuania. While a persons mental state is usually a touchy subject, this book dove right in letting it show that, to some point, everyone has a mental limit for good or bad, it is there. This story did have an interesting concept, I enjoyed the quick trip to Lithuania (never been), the use of foreign languages, the accented pronunciation of names (Endee for Andy), and the dog. But, with the writer being an English teacher at a college level, I guess I was expecting - different. (**)
September 13, 2009