Andrew Harter's Reviews > Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

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

really liked it
Read in November, 2011

Father Finds Son Who Finds Himself

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

Nick Flynn’s Another Bullshit Night in Suck City is in a class of its own entirely. The book is a memoir that is based on author Nick Flynn’s lifelong avoidance of his father. A boy who was brought up despising the man he never knew. The whole book is divided into six unique parts as they serve as different phases in both character’s lives. As the story progresses, the chapters alternate between Nick Flynn growing up and his father Jonathan Flynn’s journey to stay alive after he has divorced his wife/Nick’s mother. This formatting for the chapter progression serves as a gateway for the reader to follow along each main character’s life and feel their raw emotions as they trudge along through their lives.
Nick Flynn’s style of writing for this novel is definitely one that is unconventional compared to the other contemporary novels that I have read, such as the Harry Potter series. Flynn is writing a novel, but with a poet’s mindset. I didn’t think it was possible to accomplish such a feat. Flynn writes “My father’s room is filled with boxes, inside the boxes are his masterpieces, his novels-in-progress…but open the boxes and you will find only more emptiness.” This example proves Flynn’s poetic style with his use of extensive metaphors. Flynn uses them to further describe the severity of his father’s condition in a way where the readers can reap the intense emotions flowing through Nick Flynn’s veins.
Another Bullshit Night in Suck City is a special kind of novel. Each chapter is a creatively written tunnel to the next one. Flynn intertwines nonfiction so well with the incredible situations that he has gone through, that one might think he made his story up. In one scene Flynn writes “Known as the ‘Professor’, Keith knows my mother…he takes me out to lunch and offers me a job as his apprentice. High up in the Organization, he maintains the radios that keep in touch with the boats that aren’t going out for fish.” In this scene Flynn is joining the Mob. Not many people can say they’ve joined the mob and lived to tell about it. His joining the Mob also reflects his fickle character. He gets involved in every risky behavior possible in the book. This behavior is directly reflective of his father’s. Nick Flynn could have easily ended up like his father and become homeless as he is throughout the novel, but it was his passion of writing and all out stubbornness that kept him from becoming homeless.
The novel was extremely well written and was one of the first ones in a long while that I couldn’t put down. Flynn helps mold a situation as sensitive as one’s father being homeless into the utmost raw emotion and reality as he makes his way to find answers about his family while in doing so he answers all the questions that have ever been asked of him along the way.

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