In its dual structure of the present-day narration of Trevor and the past brought to life through his recorded "memory diary," The Guardians
addresses the theme of masculinity, of what it is to 'be a man.' Much of the boyhood trauma which occurs (and no spoilers here, I assure you) requires the boys to take definitive steps toward a maturity they are arguably unprepared to take. In the present, we see said masculinity present in the mid-life crises of the men: Trevor, unable to commit and facing a slow decline into immobility; Randy, failed actor; and Carl, the saddest of them, vanished in a haze of dangerous activities.
All this may make it seem as if The Guardians
is a ponderous slog though subtext, but Pyper keeps the story zipping along with verve. He does make the odd stumble - the main female character seems a bit too good to be true - but he displays, once again, a canny knack for characterization that feels warm and identifiable, an ability to put fully recognizable and sympathetic characters into great peril.Read the rest of the review here.