C.M. Barrett's Reviews > Songs for the New Depression

Songs for the New Depression by Kergan Edwards-Stout
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's review
Jun 06, 2012

it was amazing
Read on June 06, 2012

This book had me hooked from the first page. The writing quality was so strong that I had to look again to remind myself that this is a debut novel.

The writing is more than excellent; it's in places laugh-out-loud funny. It's my view that if one is going to write about serious and often heart-breaking subject, the relief of humor is essential. Otherwise, people will put down your book and go watch Modern Family.

I wasn't at first sure that the reverse-chronology storytelling method worked. Only towards the end of the book did I recognize this as a brilliant strategy for unraveling the psyche of a challenging protagonist.

Gabriel, like many people I've known, isn't easy to love. My friends in this category could be immensely entertaining, they often cooked well, and they made ideal partners on a dance floor. Like Gabriel, they failed Intimacy 101.

Through going back in time, the reader can understand what makes Gabriel who he is. With the defining moment of his high-school years, the author makes the powerful point that bullying and other forms of targeted oppression can mould damaged individuals whose defense against the world that always threatens to do it again is a façade that seems impermeable, a mask that shuts out both hatred and love.

The author handles this theme with considerable deftness, and I hope that he is currently working on something new. I look forward to reading it.
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