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291 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 2008
There are good books and there are bad books, period, that's the distinction.
2a. Like the "likeability" concept. The damaged narrator herein is likeable because he's experienced trauma and is doing what he can to overcome it. Which is inspirational. And readers like inspirational books. A more ambitious novel might associate the narrator's trauma with the country's trauma post-9/11 (not the case in this one).
2b. Let the reader see around the narrator. It was moving to learn along with the narrator what he'd forgotten and what he'd missed while institutionalized (eg, the Eagles in the Super Bowl!).
2c. Bond with readers via quirky terminology. The narrator has language and behavior quirks that at first don't make much sense but over time serve as a bond between narrator and reader, like "the bad place" referring to the mental institution and "apart time" referring to the split with his wife -- also his hysterical aggressive response to the musical stylings of Kenny G.