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Making Nice

3.49  ·  Rating Details ·  486 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews

Named a book of the year by BUSTLE and ELECTRIC LITERATURE

“Alby is Holden Caulfield in the Internet age..." --Los Angeles Times

Hailed as "indelible" by Entertainment Weekly, a "cringe-inducingly funny" (The Wall Street Journal) gut-punch of a debut about love, grief, and family "unleashes one of the most comically arresting voices this side of Sam Lipsyte's Homeland" (Pub
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published February 17th 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published September 1st 2014)
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Mar 02, 2016 Theresa rated it did not like it
The first problem I had with "Making Nice" by Matt Summell is the lack of character development. I found it unbearable and impossible to root for or like the protagonist, Alby. Alby is basically a man-child. He takes no responsibility for his crude and unflattering behavior. He's a belligerent and immature alcoholic with severe anger issues, and he's incredibly disrespectful to the women he has casual encounters with. Borderline rapist, anyone??? The way he treats himself and others is vile and ...more
Claire Jefferies
Jan 20, 2015 Claire Jefferies rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaways
It's taken me a few weeks to process this book - and still, I'm not quite sure whether to give this one star or four. I'm settling on two, because Sumell is certainly a talented writer, some of it made me laugh out loud, and it touches on a topic I'm deeply interested in (and know too much about, unfortunately): the death of a parent. Sumell does a particularly good job of illustrating family dynamics before and after the loss of his mother (not a spoiler; you learn this in the first few pages) ...more
Jun 18, 2015 Lorilin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, arc
I'm a little surprised, honestly, that there are so many low-star reviews for this book, because I thought it was one of the best books I've read in months. The main character--Alby, Albert, Al (Matt?)--is crass and irreverent, just a colossal a-hole, to be sure. But the vulnerability! Oh, man, I felt like I was flailing right along with the guy. I felt his pain and understood his desperation as he tried to grapple with the death of his mother (and the Disappointment that is his father). Would I ...more
Douglas Lord
Dec 29, 2014 Douglas Lord rated it it was amazing
Sumell’s debut novel is an asskicker. Alby, 30, is a spazz. Whether he’s your kid brother, older brother, stepbrother, or maybe your own damn self, Alby is family and the only thing you can predict about him is his unpredictability. He’s annoying, loses most of the fistfights he starts, and he’s not all that fun to be around: exactly why he is so real, so riveting. Readers meet him soon after his mother has died from cancer and he is completely undone by grief. Though filled with brio, Alby ...more
Blake Kimzey
Jan 05, 2015 Blake Kimzey rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I've read in a long time. It has everything you want when you sit down to read a great novel, and a heartbreakingly real narrator named Alby that you grow to love over the course of the book. Alby is fully broken after the death of his mother and this is his account of why he is the way he is. Almost every page has a line or lines that will make you laugh out loud. This is the funniest book I've ever read, and it's also achingly sad in parts, sections that will make you ...more
Nov 22, 2014 Susan rated it it was ok
You know that kind of cute, sometimes charming total loser that you slept with that one time when you were bored and drunk? This is a series of interconnected short stories about him. Sumell has some nice verbal gymnastics, but I couldn't find a way to like this. (Note: I received an advance review copy.)
Betsy Robinson
Jul 16, 2015 Betsy Robinson rated it it was amazing
Raw, wild and free-wheeling, blasphemous, pained, and hilarious, Making Nice is a novel made from a collection of stories that work like the shards of a shattered window falling in such a way that you can still see the pane (pun intended). Angry-young-man narrator Alby is a pushover for a stranded baby cardinal he names Gary, his dog Sparkles, a possibly suicidal grasshopper, and a slug named Cherokee Bob, but he can't control his hair-trigger temper or his mouth or, the bigger problem, life—the ...more
Jun 23, 2015 Alena rated it it was ok
I know better than to choose a book based on cover design or cover blurbs, but this one suckered me in on both counts. Then I spent 4 days trying to decide if I loved it or hated it.

I've read lots of loser men novels (I'm talking to you Jonathan Tropper), but the losers are usually lovable, or at least trying to be lovable. Matt Sumell takes his loser Alby to a whole new level of crude, abrasive violence and several times I just wanted to stop reading. But then, there were moments of such great
Jan 02, 2015 Kiki rated it really liked it
I'm not sure why I went ahead and decided to read this book. Something about the description must have captured me, but the opening chapter turned me off. i put it down for a few days, but then I kept reading. And I laughed. I laughed out loud! And I felt compassion and even an affection for the crazy narrator, Alby, as well as for his family. I was also inspired to keep reading since I grew up on Long Island, which is the main setting for this story. So the book had a couple of things going for ...more
Aug 09, 2015 Yossi rated it liked it

Estoy cansado de lo poíticamente correcto, de las convenciones, de todo aquel que juzga qué tenemos que sentir y cómo. No hay concesiones para el protagonista de la novela, Alby: es un gilipollas integral, la última persona que querríamos tener alrededor en los momentos en los que nos arrastramos por el suelo porque un comentario insensible de su parte haría que deseáramos más que nada que se abriera una grieta y nos succionara, la última persona que querríamos tener alrededor cuando hemos be
Mar 12, 2015 Hoolie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: new-school, favorites
Go get this book. By the time you're at page 189 and you read this gem:

Still, his life (Dad) now seemed so depressing I was starting to believe he actually did want to die, because I probably would, and I followed him into the kitchen and asked if he was still taking his antidepressants. He wasn't, he said, bc they made him tired.
Narrator/son: "You know dead is like being super tired forever, right?"

Dark? Yes. But genuine, honest, offensive and funny? Also yes. This is only one of a double do
Apr 10, 2015 Matt rated it really liked it
To paraphrase two other reviews "it's not for everyone"and "I don't feel like I have to apologize for it" but if this book is for you it will sweep you in quickly and won't let go until you finish the book. Manic, funny and crude my guess is you will either love it or hate it.
Courtney Maum
Mar 26, 2015 Courtney Maum rated it it was amazing
Best ending in the business, baby.
Mary Lins
Apr 02, 2015 Mary Lins rated it it was amazing
Shelves: complete
You can tell by the reviews that Matt Sumell's, "Making Nice", isn't for every reader. I, however, absolutely loved it. It's both hilarious and heartbreaking.

Alby is either an extremely unreliable narrator OR, Alby is toooo reliable a narrator; failing to even edit his antics to protect himself from the reader's scorn. In one chapter there are multiple choice questions about the story and in that vein I've created one here:
Characterize the Narrator/Protagonist, Alby:

A. Alby is violent.
B. Alby is
Sep 21, 2015 Julia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I thought that this collection of linked short stories was excellent although perhaps mislabeled as a novel. It put me in mind of Junot Diaz's "This is How You Lose Her" both in tone and subject matter - although written from a different cultural perspective. Sumell's central character Alby is both likeable and immensely dislikable in a similar way to Diaz's Yunior. He is sex obsessed, prone to violent outbursts, a bit of a loser and immensely selfish. However he also shows us his softness and a ...more
Keith Rosson
Oct 06, 2015 Keith Rosson rated it it was amazing
Interconnected stories in the loose shape of a novel. While the main character is an unabashed asshole - to the point where some of the sexual situations here made me uncomfortable - Sumell writes like a goddamned acrobat, jumping from laugh-out-loud humor to pathos and back in the space of a paragraph. Seriously incredible, and one of the funniest books I've read in years. I could go on and on, but instead I'll say: there's few books that I'd consider giving as a gift to a vast number of ...more
Apr 26, 2016 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Like the author himself, this book made me laugh and puke simultaneously. Come for the jerk humor and titty-punches and stay for the description of the rescued bird and all the fucked up and perfect and heart-tugging mother-son and father-son interactions.
interesting, funny, and grotesque story of what happens when dooshbags go through the grieving process. it aint pretty, but it is pretty insightful, leer-inducing, and talented.
Al Kratz
May 30, 2015 Al Kratz rated it it was amazing
Writing a review for Alternating Current.
Sandy Hospers
Apr 06, 2015 Sandy Hospers rated it it was amazing
Crass, funny, heart breaking, realatable.
Apr 21, 2015 Hannah added it
A good gut punch.
Apr 14, 2015 John rated it it was amazing
Memorable Tales About a Most Compelling Loser

Alby, the main protagonist in Matt Sumell’s “Making Nice” isn’t someone you’d find mentioned favorably in the Bernie Taupin lyrics of an Elton John song; he’s far from the admirable, blinded Vietnam War veteran named in “Daniel” or the saintly John Lennon in “Empty Garden”. He’s the annoying, irritating, compulsive teenaged punk you might remember from your adolescence; someone with absolutely no redeeming virtues, period. Yet in this terse collection
Jun 16, 2015 Amy rated it did not like it
Shelves: arc
ARC/Fiction: I got this book in return for an honest review. I wish I hadn't and let someone who would have liked it have it instead. I hated it and cannot recommend it.

I was drawn to it because the setting takes place on Long Island. I grew up there and graduated from Babylon, which is mentioned. I should have taken heed when it was a best pick from Entertainment Weekly. I used to read their book reviews. In my opinion, I feel that they skim though a book and look for shock value or pop cultur
Mar 21, 2015 Cristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cristina by: M.
Hacer el bien es una bocanada de aire fresco en el panorama literario actual.

Alby, álter ego de Matt Sumell, es un pseudo-sociópata introvertido y agresivo que se auto-dota de una armadura para protegerse de un mundo absurdo que no comprende.

Para dar voz a tal espécimen, Sumell no duda en escribir tal como él hablaría.

El lenguaje utilizado es coloquial llegando a lo vulgar y el sarcasmo la nota predominante durante todo el relato; pero, pese a ello, Alby no pierde la mirada artística de la real
May 01, 2015 K.K. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-book-log
And here is a book where the main character/narrator is totally unlikeable, and yet, his perspective on life revealed meaning and evoked sympathy. Alby is both destructive and self-destructive. He is driven to despair over the death of his mother. And though the death of a parent is a tragedy, it is one most people will experience in their lives, but that doesn't matter here. The reader understands that Alby is traumatized by this, and whether or not he should be so deeply scarred isn't remotely ...more
Feb 07, 2015 Heather rated it did not like it
I was sucked into reading this book when I read all the great comments on the back about how this book was a "find." That did give me high expectations that this book was going to be a good read. Unfortunately, it did not live up to it.

The main character, Alby, is so unlikeable that I wanted to stop reading after the third chapter. The author has him saying things more for the shock value then for the flow of the story.

Usually, even if I don't particularly like a book, I will continue reading
Jan 04, 2015 Michael rated it liked it
As I sit here, I'm still not sure how I feel about this book (as I often sit and don't know how to feel about books I've just finished).

I received an advance reader's edition as part of a goodreads giveaway.

In many ways, this book was real...TOO I found myself sympathizing and comparing my own life as it relates to similar circumstances...which, in retrospect, was probably the point.
I appreciated Alby's stream of consciousness for the most part, though it could be tedious at times.
Apr 28, 2015 Janie rated it really liked it
I won an advanced reader copy of Making Nice, and boy did I get lucky.

This slim little novel, about an embittered but not quite hardened man ill-equipped to deal with the overwhelming grief of his mother's death, packs a powerful punch. Alby is loveable in spite of, or maybe because of, his unlovableness. You want to slap him and then give him a hug.

I've been reading a lot of books lately where the narrator's personality was either bland or not well-formed, and it was getting seriously old. Alb
Jack Keely
Nov 18, 2015 Jack Keely rated it it was amazing
Matt Sumell has written a darkly funny, and very grown-up book featuring a main character who is pugnacious, foul mouthed, and kind of a jerk. At first, I really disliked the hard headed Alby. I even debated whether or not I wanted to continue the book, but the humor and unflinching observations kept me going. By the end of MAKING NICE, Alby's humanity shines through and I liked him in spite of myself. Matt Sumell's carefully crafted prose reads as breezy,conversational, and often hilarious. The ...more
Sep 20, 2015 Pamela rated it really liked it
I read this one early on and liked it -- more because it gave me a look inside the mind of a person so different from myself. On the other hand, I can understand how this book can be offensive. (funny, since it's called "Making Nice")

It's gritty and revealing and shows a furious, hyper-masculine, troubled side of grief. Good discussion possibilities... Themes like, violence, substance use/abuse, anger and how it can mask deep pain, accepting people as they are or setting boundaries and requiring
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Matt Sumell is a graduate of UC Irvine's MFA Program in Writing, and his short fiction has since appeared in the Paris Review, Esquire, Electric Literature, One Story, Noon, and elsewhere. His first collection, MAKING NICE, is available in stores now.
More about Matt Sumell...

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