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3.2  ·  Rating details ·  76 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Mary and Bickerman are the center of their circle of friends—but these friends are strangers as well as family to them. In the course of a year, under the influence of a stressful wedding and a whole lot of alcohol, relationships and nerves are twisted and broken as the dynamics of the cozy-seeming group shift. Secrets are kept, emotions withheld, and it doesn't look like ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 18th 2013 by Gallery Books
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Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Watch out, here comes an angry outburst at another author who has nothing to do with this book but whom I was reading simultaneously with this one.

(view spoiler)

Okay. This book is great. You probably won't like a single character, yet won't be able to stop reading. It's like a train wreck. Can't help but rubberneck at it. Everyone is such a disaster of a human being, and I liked that. Probably because they were self
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)

Chum opens with the wedding of Mary and Bickerman, as narrated by Mike. As he takes in the scene with its requisite drinking and carousing, you’ll get a taste early of the dark undercurrent that runs through Mike and his group of “friends”. I use the term loosely. Mike seems to be the least sociopathic of the bunch, and strangely, I don’t mean that in a bad way, and that may even be unfair to Mike. He’s actually quite sensitive and tends to come off like a
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
I liked this book before I started to really know the characters. Initially, I felt I could relate to some of them and the story took me back to drunken college days and some fond memories but that is about where my relating stopped. As the story went on, I began to relate the whole novel to a night of boozing. In the beginning, you have a few drinks and start to feel the buzz which leads to good times and lots of socializing. You are having fun and making friends, albeit superficial. As the dri ...more
Apr 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
I love books with multiple narrators. However, though the chapters were supposed to be written by different characters, the writing style did not change at all. Instead, the author seemed to rely on specific words that were supposed to suffice for character development: words like motherfuckery (uttered ad nausea, by the way), Glee (with a capital G, don’t forget), The Stupid Fuck (how very INVENTIVE?) or Sub-Doofus (who SAYS that???) And I GUESS Henry is supposed to be the funny one? Eh.

And spe
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
From page 1 Chum shines with Jeff Somers' distinctive voice and crisp prose. The book is written achronologically, with each chapter told in first person from the point of view of a different character in a group of friends. Most chapters take place on a major holiday over the course of about a year, but while the chapters aren't labeled by character, it's always clear within a page or so (or often much less) whose head we're in. Many of the events repeat from different points of view, and becau ...more
Patty Blount
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Those of you who know me know I’m a huge fan of Jeff Somers. His Avery Cates series left me sweaty and breathless and his urban fantasy Trickster had me ready to open a vein. When I read Chum, I was left feeling a whole jumble of emotions – at the top of the list? Awe. Nobody makes me want to know what makes unlikeable characters tick the way Jeff does. I’m a writer myself and trust me on this, Jeff’s deft handling of characters who are anything but nice is pure magic.

Chum opens with a wedding
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
By Jeff Somers – By the time I finished this 2013 book I felt like I had a very bad hangover and my tongue had been used as an ashtray. Practically nothing seems to hold this group of nine friends and one slutty younger sister together except drinking and smoking, and the quantity of alcohol consumed explains many of the difficulties they encounter.
Written in the stripped-down modern style, the book is unencumbered by information about jobs, personal histories, and life outside the interactions
Amanda Byrne
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-books
Told through alternating points of view, Chum is not a story that unfolds in a linear fashion. It starts with the wedding of Mary and Bick, skips back, then forward again, then back, then waaay forward. Eventually, one member of their little group dies, and the reactions of the characters run the gamut on the grief spectrum, from outbreaks of hysterical crying to drinking the pain away to a sort of blase acceptance of the whole thing.

The narrative switches mostly between Hank and Tommy. Hank see
Cheryl, The Book Contessa
Jun 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-read
Initially, for me, this book started with a -bang-! It was funny and intelligent. Henry & his friends were drinking; personalities were colorful. I could relate. Each chapter was spoken from the voice of one of the friends in the group. I could identify with the characters' thoughts as they weren't able to speak them to each other, when they didn't want relationships to change. The friends would get together for holidays, events, birthdays, etc. All involving a considerable amount of liquor ...more
Tyrone Swanson
Nov 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Okay, what the fuck, this book pulled off some sort of miracle and in the final few chapters went from crap to enjoyable. (Was sitting on one star, until I finished it just this afternoon.) Maybe I just didn't get what the writer was going for until the final scenes, but still, I put that fault on him, not me.

Utterly detestable characters for most of the book, and in some cases, throughout, and not in an interesting way, but a way that makes you want to punch them -- and the author perhaps -- in
Melanie R Meadors
Sep 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's like Friends...on booze. This dark look at a circle of friends with a mystery in the center may not be to everyone's taste, but I found it fascinating to read. The timeline of the story is different--things don't happen sequentially, rather, you see them as they need to be seen. Also, each chapter is from another character's POV. Once i got the hang of it I didn't find that this took me out of the story at all. Each character has a distinctive voice, and I was able to tell pretty much right ...more
May 18, 2015 rated it did not like it
Let me preface this review by saying I don't particularly enjoy books that change perspective. That said, I can adjust when the chapter title tells you whose perspective to expect. This book did not give that information. Maybe that exclusion was to add to the drunken stupor state of the reader? Not sure. In any case, I did not enjoy this book. A bunch of raucous drinkers going from day to day, drinking binge to drinking binge. Not my cup of tea, though people who live lives such as these folk m ...more
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
CHUM is a really entertaining story about some not so good people. I like how CHUM was written and that it jumps from different points of view, several times showing the same event from a different character's point of view. The jumping back and forth in time also was a bit different then I am used to, but it worked pretty well in CHUM. I also like the the different characters from Henry to Luis to Tom and everyone else.

I really liked CHUM. It was another fine book by Jeff Somers.
Jan 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Like a jack of all trades, it didn't go deep in any direction: not much insight on the big philosophical questions or on relationships, some witty banter, not wholly original in structure, virtually no plot. Most of the characters are unlikeable and hard to identify with (unless you're a lost thirtysomething whose salvation is booze). On the upside, the writing is breezy and the use of a secret pulls you through to the end.
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
Alcohol is what makes it tolerable for this group of "friends" to stay in each others company. Jumping forward and back in time and alternating narrators, Somers provides a meandering story about some very unlikable characters that doesn't really go anywhere. The writing is fine, I just didn't find much substance here.
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
A great confirmation that Somers can only write one POV character, whether it's in SF, fantasy, or mimetic fiction with multiple POVs. This is why this novel didn't work for me at all. I'm fine with unlikable protagonists, just not identical ones.
Jack Goodstein
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
Fractures chronology in this tale of adult group friendships gone bad with multiple first person narrators. Raises the question of where truth lies.
Brandon Warner
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Interesting story telling. The shift between characters and story perspectives was a new thing to see done. Also pretty seamless.
Chris Thompson
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Jeff Somers has a mastery of dialogue, and it shows through in Chum.
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Sep 05, 2013
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Apr 08, 2018
Alex Boothe
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Aug 24, 2013
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May 21, 2015
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Sep 22, 2013
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Aug 08, 2016
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Jan 14, 2014
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Feb 03, 2018
Jared Tamarkin
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Jan 02, 2014
Chuck Lawson
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Free Books, .99 &...: Win a signed copy of Chum by Jeff Somers 1 16 Aug 22, 2013 12:26PM  
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Jeff Somers ( began writing by court order as an attempt to steer his creative impulses away from engineering genetic grotesqueries. He has published nine novels, including the Avery Cates Series of noir-science fiction novels from Orbit Books ( and the Ustari Cycle series of urban fantasy novels. His short story “Ringing the Changes” was selected for incl ...more
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