Sep 17, 12
Read in September, 2012
"Poke-poke, motherfuckers." If there's one thing Chuck Wendig can write well, it's damaged characters. And he does it with such ease and conviction that's it's almost scary. Scary, but damn good.
SHOTGUN GRAVY is the tale of a high-school girl with a troubled past. Atlanta Burns returns to school after an incident with a shotgun causing her to be sent away for therapy. The kids at school don't talk to her except for Shane, a boy she saves from some bullies. She doesn't want any friends it seems, but she gets stuck with Shane and another boy, Chris anyway. It's a merry little band of friends. She's the girl to call when people need to be defended. And she defends hard.
Burns is one scary girl. But she's not all hardness. There are moments in SHOTGUN GRAVY where Wendig allows her soft side to come through. She knows what the incident did to her and towards the end, she doesn't want the same thing happening to her mother, so once again she takes the gun and takes charge. She stands up for people she barely knows but knows that SOMEONE has to face the bullies or they'd never stop.
So much of this novella echoed in my chest. From Wendig's descriptions of Atlanta's feelings of anxiety ("her heart feels like a jar of moths and it's like she's standing on the edge of a building teetering on the balls of her feet") to the description of life in the country and only having piss-poor beer in the fridge.
I can't wait to read the next installment, BAIT DOG.