William Aydlotte Atlanta, GA (April 23, 2011)
I’m a fan of Mad Men, so I was immediately attracted to this book. I’m also a 40-year veteran of the ad business, so this turf is nothing new to me. What I found so refreshing, however, was the brutal honesty with which the author tackled the entire story. He captured the arrogance and anxiety of the 30-year-old hero, Will Stallworth, from page two when he throws up in the azalea bushes because he’s so nervous about making his debut at the fancy anniversary party of his new ad agency. Then there’s a great early scene where he is instantly captivated by a ravishing beauty that represents his perfect fantasy. He has a chat with her that is a funny and accurate portrait of every first meeting that every young man and young woman has ever had.
One of the great quotes …from … Beowulf: “Fate often saves a warrior when his courage endures.” Will is saved because his courage endures and in the end he faces down his demons.
Hutcheson’s style is anything but traditional. His use of repetitive words and ellipses to show Will’s anxiety and tension are very effective. He also goes light on the metaphors. Too many writers want to fill every open space with beautiful imagery. It gets old very fast in my book.
I want insights and ideas and dialogue that tell me something new or talk about something I care about from a fresh angle. The message of this novel resonates for me: If you want to lead a life of purpose and meaning, on your own terms, then be about the business of learning who you are and what you want and don’t cut any corners. Life is hard, but it can be fair, too, if you show up with enough courage. One of the great quotes of the book is fromthe ancient story, Beowulf: “Fate often saves a warrior when his courage endures.” Will is saved because his courage endures and in the end he faces down his demons.