“The Catcher in the Rye”—Modern day version”

Lizbeth Andrews, Atlanta, GA   (March 30,2011)

It is the gut-wrenching here-and-now of Will’s anguished emotions and thoughts that set this novel apart.  That and the conversational, first person tone that author Don Hutcheson uses

The only books I have read that succeeded in accomplishing such a quick bond are The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and A Million Little Pieces by James Frey.

to get the reader instantly bonded with his protagonist.  The only books I have read that succeeded in accomplishing such a quick bond are The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and A Million Little Piecesby James Frey. In each case, the story is told in first person.  And the tone and manner of the writing is anything but traditional prose. Such is the case with Hutcheson’s novel. But the similarities end there.  Salinger’s main character, Holden Caulfield, is a disturbed teenager who has just been released from a stay in a mental hospital.  James Frey, the lead character in his fictionalized memoir (OK, I know he lied about it, but so what. It’s still great writing) is beginning his

stay in a rehab facility after years as a hard-core addict.  Nothing wrong with either of those story lines.  Salinger’s book is an all-time classic and I thoroughly enjoyed A Million Little Pieces. I’m just remarking that, for me anyway, Hutcheson’s theme and character lineup are more interesting and compelling.

[I]learned more about how [the advertising] business works in one novel that I did in an entire season watching Mad Men (I do love Mad Men!).

The author often repeats words and phrases several times, just as any of us do when we are anxious or frightened or stuck in a blind rage.  The scene that will forever stay in my mind happens early in the story when Will is introduced to McDonald & Campbell’s largest client, First Atlanta Bank.  Completely out of nowhere Will nearly loses control of himself and shuts down as his heart races uncontrollably and its relentless pounding . . . THUMP, THUMP . . . THUMP, THUMP . . . brings Will’s unexpected terror right to the reader.

A Million Little Pieces
Will Stallworth, the main character in Out of Fear, in many ways resembles the leading man in James Frey’s brilliant fictionalized memoir — A Million Little Pieces.

I was fascinated by Will’s running commentary on the advertising business and learned more about how that business works in one novel that I did in an entire season watching Mad Men (I do love Mad Men!).

Mostly I like it that Will has the courage to fight through his demons, listen to the people who love him and finally discover that while he is indeed his own worst enemy, he is also his only hope for redemption. This was a very satisfying read and I could not recommend it more highly.


 
Find out what happens in Will
Stallworth’s life next!


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