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Code for Failure

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Excessive drinking, drug use, and sex aren't usually the best way to redeem yourself after getting kicked out of college. But that's exactly what the antihero of Ryan W. Bradley's debut novel attempts to do. After returning to his hometown he gets a job pumping gas, and then a second (less legal) job on the side. He's hellbent on living his way, like life's a punk song, ev ...more
Paperback, 254 pages
Published May 5th 2013 by Civil Coping Mechanisms (first published March 27th 2012)
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Meg Tuite
May 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ryan W. Bradley’s novel “Code For Failure,” is a potent, gutter-blast of existence with all its hellish memories of those first post-college jobs. The novel is straightforward. Short sentences and dialogue that belt these characters alive.

“I’m the guy who pumps your gas.
Oregon is one of only two states where it’s illegal to pump your own gas. The other is New Jersey. Go figure. Great company for us.”

This sets the tone for the novel. It is brilliantly packed in with pathos, sex and that feeling t
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

I'm proud to count author Ryan Bradley, who's also the owner of Artistically Declined Press, as a friend of mine, which would make it an ethical conflict if I tried to pass off my review of his latest book, Code for Failure, as "objective;" I did however want to get a mention of it posted here online anywa

Code for Failure is kind of a slight book, but it is really full of good stuff. I read and reviewed Ryan's short story collection Prize Winners last year, which struck me as the work of a very capable writer, and so I was excited when Lori asked me to be on the tour for this book. The novel is a semi-autobiographical portrait of a year in the life of a college dropout/gas station employee. The narrator is sort of typically apathetic, surprisingly popular with the ladies (do women really hit on g
from author for review

Read 2/12/12
4.5 Stars - Highly Recommended to readers who don't mind getting a little grease under their nails
Pgs: 255 (eBook format)
Publisher: Black Coffee Press
Release date: March 27th, 2012

"Don't ever get comfortable here," ... "This place will steal your soul."

I'm about to admit something that you may end up holding against me. Although I bet you are guilty of the same exact thing, so just go ahead and hold that mirror up against yourself before you get too judgy... ok
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ryan Bradley wants you to wonder what is fact and what is fiction in "Code For Failure", which is based on his experiences as a gas station attendant, but you want to believe everything that has happened in this terrific novel. It's a fast read, definitely for the internet generation, yet incredibly hard to put down. It almost makes you feel a little regret, that you might not have lived as hard or as impetuously as the main character. Through it all, you want him to find that one person who isn ...more
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bradley serves up a page-turner wherein a blue collar nihilism, punctuated by booze, broads, and the vagaries of a shit job schlepping gas, slowly gives way to a softer existentialism -- and even some hard-won redemption. Anyone who has ever been tossed out of school (or damn close to it) and who instinctually roots for the underdog will find plenty here to cheer for, and Bradley gives fine voice in short, punchy chapters. Had Bukowski pumped gas there might well have been similar yarns in a cha ...more
Benoit Lelièvre
This is a solid five stars. Rock solid, even. The reality of Ryan W. Bradley is the reality of thousand on young men in America and his nameless narrator deals with issues such as boredom (physical and existential), alienation, lonelines and confusion in such an earnest way, it's hard not to root for him. Half-way between Henry Rollins vignettes and slacker comedy, CODE FOR FAILURE is a unique novel. I could see myself reading it over and over again. ...more
Caleb Ross
I've always had a nostalgic association with gas stations, so reading this book, taking in it's non-stop sex capades, hit me strangely. But associations aside, this book is quick, super fun, and quite intelligent. A great intro to Bradley's work. ...more
Allison Renner
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As Ryan says in his acknowledgments, this book is "a story about a screw-up gas station attendant written by a former screw-up gas station attendant." The book is a quick read, broken into short sections that will keep you saying "Just one more chapter, just one more" before you can attempt to put it down. It's a novel, but most pieces could stand alone as short stories; I felt like I was reading a collection that just happened to come together into a story arc at the end. Parts are crass, parts ...more
Amanda Deo
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Half-way through reading Code for Failure I emailed Ryan with anticipation. I had one question. How much of this novel was fiction and how much of it was his reality? It was personal and universal in every paragraph.

I buzzed through this novel like an afternoon delight. I couldn't put it down. I needed to know what was to come of the gas station attendant. I needed to know what was to come of him because I want to know what is to become of me. In my opinion, Ryan's best fiction work to date.
Aug 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's rare that I look forward to a book as much as this one and still have it be as good as I expected, but this one pulled it off. This one would hit home for a lot of people because most have had crap jobs, but I think it goes beyond that. I think everyone lives in the situation they are in, at least to some extent, because they aren't sure what else to do. This is definitely the book for that, and still a crazy one despite the almost universal applicability. Regardless of any of that, it's a ...more
Shannon Peil
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ryan W. Bradley has a way with dialogue, and with the internal monologue of an early 20s underachieving loser, which I have a soft spot and connection to.

I didn't believe anything that happened in this book, but maybe that's just what it's like to be really attractive.
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I once was offered to "run" a Subway sandwich location. I feel if I would have taken that job I would have ended up like much of Cal's story, but with much less sex-for-money situations going on. There is an anxiety with purposeful failure. Bradley captures the winks in a decline. ...more
Matt Micheli
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s a love story. Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. You’ll have to spend an hour-and-a-half to read it and find out. Read entire review/blog @ ...more
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Code Confusion

I wanted to like Bradley’s first novel, a GoodReads First Read, because of his poetry background, and because of the promise of the title. Subtitled “A Gas Station Novel,” as though there might be a series in the works, a little too much is given away too soon. The protagonist of this (semi-autobiographical) work is unnamed, but, we’re told repeatedly, too smart for his job pumping gas in Oregon—he ended up where he was because he got kicked out of college for excessive raucousness
Paul Thomas
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: shit
Where to begin to describe how juvenile and poorly written? Quick read, because, appropriately, the type and margins are big and it reads like a children's book, but with sex and lots of drinking. Only recommended for boys, age 18-22 as a summer read. Before and after those ages, it's just not funny or satisfying. ...more
Alan Engstrom
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A great adventure into the life of an individual who was at rock bottom.

Code for Failure is easily read and extremely believable to witness. Everyone can relate to the protagonist in this novel. Either being part of this generation, the next, or before, we have been that guy.

The story is written as if you are either witnessing it yourself or your best friend is telling it to you over a pint at the bar.

The story is not for the prude but for those who exist in reality. You are easily sucked into t
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A meditation on the idea that even when you're mostly joyful, or even quasi-joyful, mistakes will be made, and failure will loom, until we believe happiness and success, however, we define these things, are really possible and available to us.

More -
Ray Charbonneau
Entertaining memoir-like book, a little thin in the 'what's the meaning of it all' department, or it might rate higher. ...more
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Ryan W. Bradley has pumped gas, changed oil, painted houses, swept the floor of a mechanic's shop, worked on a construction crew in the Arctic Circle, fronted a punk band, and managed an independent children's bookstore. He now works in marketing for a library system. He received his MFA from Pacific University and has been published widely online and in print.

He is the author of eight books, incl

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