Friday, December 19, 2014

A coming of age novel that doesn't come of age

Drinking Until Morning

By Justin Grimbol


Publisher: Atlatl Press 

Pub. Date: September 9, 2014

Rating: 2 & 1/2 out of 5 stars

Books like Drinking Until Morning leaves me feeling very conflicted. From the first page it is clear that Justin Grimbol has a style of writing that must have been a gift from the Gods, presumably the same ones Charles Bukowski prayed to. I really loved the first third of this relatively short novel. Then it seemed to sink into a rut. Justin Grimbol's protagonist, whose name is Dustin Grimboli, seems human and vulnerable at the beginning yet soon he sinks into just being pathetic. It is Grimbol's direct but darkly poetic writing that got me through the book but after the end it was "Is that all there is?". I loved it and hated it but not in the way that Less Than Zero and American Psycho made me more aware of the nihilistic underpinnings of the modern American lifestyle. Drinking until Morning just made me feel nihilistic, not unlike another gifted writer Chuck Palahniuk. . It was the first part where Dustin is struggling with the loss of his girl friend that got me. It was frank and uncomfortable in a way that the reader can relate. Yet it is dropped quickly and Dustin wanders pointlessly through living with a crazy aunt and hanging out with the Rugrats, a group of brats that can only be called losers. The autobiographical nature of the novel is obvious if only from the name the author chooses for the main character. Yet a stagnant life isn't worth reading about and I doubt if the author has a stagnant life. Even Holden Caulfield and Sal Paradise managed to make something out of their seemingly pointless wanderings. I look forward to reading another Justin Grimbol book if only for his prose. Even I have to admit that anyone that I compare even negatively to Bukowski, Palahniuk and Brett Easton Ellis has tons of good stuff going for him. I hope I can relate to his next book more than this one. That may be the issue. From the other reviews many seem to relate to this book, presumably younger readers. I wish them well but this one...not for me. Until then, two and a half stars.

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