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Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn
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's review
Nov 15, 2011

really liked it

It’s a Small World

Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
by Nick Flynn
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc, 2004

Nick Flynn writes his memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, with a straightforwardness that doesn’t try to hide anyone’s faults; even his own. When describing his life and homeless father, suicidal mother and stoic brother, as well as other people that have impacted his life, there are no biases, just reality. The tone that Flynn maintains throughout his book is very witty and sarcastic, letting readers get a taste of Flynn’s personality, as well keeping readers entertained with not a dull moment.

The way Flynn constructed his novel by using the flow of time back and forth was done very well. It showed a parallelism of how his father lived his life and how he lived his own. He would give the reader some general information about what he did, and then delve back in time, describing his actions that lead up to a specific moment, which would lead to the reader understanding how he came to be where he was. I really enjoyed how he was able to tell his story by weaving time like that, revealing more and more of the story as you continued with the story. It showed that hindsight really is 20/20, and that every action we make affects our lives.

For example, he establishes early on in the novel that he works at a homeless shelter named the Pine Street Inn, which becomes a major part of his life, but doesn’t explain how he started out there. Later on when describing about living on a boat in Boston there is “a punked-out girl named Giselle who lives on a boat next to ours and works at a homeless shelter. The Pine Street Inn. It sounds at least as worthwhile as how I’m spending my time.” Just little coincidences throughout his life had major impact, without him even knowing it at the time.

There are some similarities with Flynn and his father that he illustrates throughout the book: problems with drugs and alcohol, both men are writers, dabbled in crime and have no clue what to do with their lives. Flynn’s father even writes him a letter to say, “Whether you like it or not – you are me. I know.” But Flynn was able to overcome some of these downfalls though: by becoming sober and attending therapy, returning to school, getting his pieces published, overall coming to terms with his life and the role his father played in it.

Flynn’s life seems like one soap opera drama and makes you wonder how he came out of all that, albeit with some traumatic scaring, but able to break the cycle of his self-destruction. Although Flynn’s life seems to be sad and disheartening, readers can take away a sense of hope from reading this book; he was able to change his life, even in the smallest way, for the better and was able to come to terms with his father and have somewhat of a relationship with him. The small victories in life. Overall it was very good and enlightening read.

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