Thursday, 28 August 2008

LibraryThing Book Review - Attention. Deficit. Disorder. – A Novel by Brad Listi

Note to readers: This book was received as part of the Early Reviewer's Group on LibraryThing. My thanks to LT and the publishers for a copy of the book. This review can also be found on LT.

Attention. Deficit. Disorder. – A Novel by Brad Listi

I was quite prepared to hate this book, as it had taken four months to arrive, and I really wasn’t in the mood to read it when it finally arrived. However, I can say I am generally pleased I did make the effort.

The book follows the wanderings of Wayne Fencer, a young man who discovers his ex-girlfriend has committed suicide. He finds out at her funeral that she had been pregnant with his baby when they split up, and had had an abortion. In trying to come to terms with the situation, he sets off on a road trip that leads him across part of the States, to Cuba and finally to a crazy festival in the desert.

The book reflects its title, in that it is written in short chapters, some barely making two pages, as Wayne’s mind hops from one thought to another, interspersed with dictionary definitions, the recipe for making Molotov cocktails and a short biography of van Gogh. We follow his tortured thoughts as he tries to process the feelings of loss and guilt, and searches for an epiphany to guide him forward. Sometimes highly funny, sometimes heartrending and on occasion downright surreal, any reader who has lost someone can empathise with Wayne’s predicament.

This is a trip of a novel, but I found some drawbacks. The character of Wayne began to grate near the end, when I found I just wanted to slap some sense into him. The disjointed style, although quite appropriate, eventually began to give me the literary hiccups, and I found the ending somewhat limp and lacking closure.

In all, worth the read, but probably not deserving some of the hype.

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