Sincere W.'s Reviews > Savages

Savages by Don Winslow
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's review
Jun 19, 2012

really liked it
Read in June, 2012

Savages is the first book I've read by Don Winslow. I picked it up because I saw the trailer for the upcoming movie adapation, and thought it looked dope. After reading the story, I understand why.

This books is about three Laguna Beach kids that get into the weed growing business because, "if you do what you love for a living, you'll never work a day of your life". Ben would have been a hippie had he been born in the sixties, but since he missed that boat he grew up to be a tree-hugging, aid-giving philanthropist, who so happens to grow amazingly good weed. John (or Chon as he's called) is Ben's best friend and the group's resident tough guy; after high school he joined the SEALS, got deployed to Afghanistan... and enjoyed every minute of it. Ophelia is a carefree, hyper-sexual girl with a certain naivete and innocence about her.

It's all sunshine and palm trees for the three protagonists until the Baja Cartel moves into SoCal sends Ben and Chon an unveiled threat. From now on, you work for us. Or else.

This story is very dark. Thankfully, it's sprinkled with enough comedic pressure valves that you don't close the book halfway through and go suck the barrel of your shotgun. It's also a page-turner that had me ripping through what is usually a 2 day affair in a single night.

In terms of writing style, Winslow reminds me of Junot Diaz. His writing is far from "invisible". Winslow takes pride in his writing ability, the guy loves the language, and his prose are just as important to Savages as the story is.

But you won't mind. Mostly because Winslow's prose are so damn beautiful that they add to the story instead of detract from it. These aren't quite Cormac McCarthy caliber prose, but Winslow made a pretty good run at it.

Savages is a great read. One of the best I've read this year. And I'm about 76% sure I'll be reading it again within the next few months.
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