I love Chabon, but this one took me a little while to get into. I found that it hits its stride a little over one hundred pages in. A fun, engrossingI love Chabon, but this one took me a little while to get into. I found that it hits its stride a little over one hundred pages in. A fun, engrossing read....more
I had the pleasure of reading an Advanced Reading Copy of The December Boys, provided by Oceanview Publishing.
Where to begin? Let’s kick things off wiI had the pleasure of reading an Advanced Reading Copy of The December Boys, provided by Oceanview Publishing.
Where to begin? Let’s kick things off with our hero/anti-hero, Jay Porter. Throughout The December Boys, Jay Porter weaves like a punch-drunk boxer pulling an unintentional rope-a-dope, suckering you in with the goodness at his core before rabbit-punching you with his what-the-hell? decision making, keeping you at arms-length every time you start to like the guy. But, of course, he can’t help it. He’s simply fighting to stay alive. Clifford does a fantastic job playing off this dynamic, dragging you deeper into the realm of Porter’s personal demons—dead junkie brother, fraying marriage, self-medication—while keeping the reader on his toes as to whether Porter can summon the inner strength to save not only himself, but others.
The plot is top-notch. At the beginning of the novel Porter simply wants to do right by his new nine-to-five insurance agent life, and, in turn, his wife and kid. But it’s not that simple. While interviewing a teenager suspected of helping his mom commit auto insurance fraud, Porter unintentionally sets the wheels in motion that sends the young man—an honest kid who rats himself out even as Porter tries to stop him from doing so—to a juvie detention center with the security of Guantanamo. At the mom’s behest, Porters starts digging for reasons why, only to find himself pulled into a nightmare involving corrupt judges, morally bankrupt politicians, and the mighty reach of the prison-industrial complex. Clifford does a nice job creating a playing field wherein every step Porter takes to solve the mystery puts him further in risk of losing hold on not only his sanity, but everything he holds dear. The end result is a novel that churns along even as the problems add up, keeping the reader fixed to the page until the satisfying end.
Mystery thrillers aren’t generally my bent, but I enjoyed reading Clifford’s work. He does a fantastic job combining a compelling protagonist with a stark setting to draw the reader in. Porter is a great character to build a series around. Highly recommended. ...more
David Mitchell meets southern grit-lit. What's not to like? Fantastic characterization, sublime prose. Consider me a fan for life. A little heavy on tDavid Mitchell meets southern grit-lit. What's not to like? Fantastic characterization, sublime prose. Consider me a fan for life. A little heavy on the man-hate, but I'm not hating. ...more
All in all, a fantastic biography. That being said, too often Meacham refers to evidence of the Federalists' monarchical proclivities by referencing hAll in all, a fantastic biography. That being said, too often Meacham refers to evidence of the Federalists' monarchical proclivities by referencing hearsay. In The Art of Power, Jefferson's friends continually relay second-hand information of what Hamilton or another Federalist said at such and such gala/event, and Meacham presents this as incontrovertible evidence that the Federalist party would have driven the country toward monarchism. Having recently read Chernow's biography on Hamilton, I was impressed by how Chernow addressed the monarchical accusations against Hamilton point by point. Reading The Art of Power, it certainly felt as if Hamilton had the better lawyer arguing his case. I understand that The Art of Power was not intended to be a comprehensive biography, but Meacham could have made a more compelling case as to why Jefferson's fears of the Federalist party were justified. Still, an intimate and engrossing portrait. ...more