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I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  926 ratings  ·  214 reviews
How do you deal with a hole in your life?

Do you grieve?

Do you drink?

Do you make out with your best friend?

Do you turn to poets and pop songs?

Do you question everything?

Do you lash out?

Do you turn the lashing inward?

If you're Avery, you do all of these things. And you write it all down in an attempt to understand what's happened -- and is happening -- to you.

I Felt a Funera
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 29th 2018 by Push
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Average rating 3.60  · 
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JV (semi-hiatus)
A novel in verse and prose form, I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain is a unique work by Walton. Shattered by the death of his grandpa, Avery suddenly becomes isolated from the people he loves the most. Told in fragments, Avery reassembles pieces of his life and faces the harsh reality of dealing with his grandfather's loss, mom's addiction, and his sexuality. It's funny and heartbreaking but oftentimes confusing due to its fragmented narrative (which I think was the original intent of the author). To ...more
Jessica Jeffers
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, young-adult
This is the weirdest, most heart-rending thing I've read in a long time. A mix of novel-in-verse and stream-of-consciousness, it had no narrative structure and bounced from present to past with no warning other than verb tenses. And yet it was a beautiful meditation on heartbreak, grief, love, addiction, family. This is definitely not for everyone, but it's highly recommended for the adventurous reader.
Elizabeth Willis
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: six-stars, arc
Not a poem, not a novel, I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain is a story in fragments.

Our teenage protagonist, Avery, is attempting to piece it all together: a friendship that is becoming something more, a mother who fails him, and overwhelming, incomprehensible grief following the death of a loved one. Walton masterfully captures here the ways in which grief shatters one's narrative, the ways in which its sharp knives jab at unexpected moments.

As Avery grapples with this most difficult of summers, he
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's not often I read a book in one sitting, but this one grabbed me and wouldn't let go. Avery's world, shattered by betrayal and grief and reassembled with the help of a passel of poets will reel you in, rock you gently back and forth, and release you into the world, transformed.
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-best-books
Walton is the poetry teacher I never had. He makes me want to eat up Sexton, Berryman, a host of other writers with a spoon. I left "I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain" wanting to read other books, and then this one again.

I lapped Walton’s words up, because there was a funeral in my brain, too. I inhaled his meditations and observations on how alcohol wrecks a family and leaves no one untouched. I felt hurt, but I also felt young and new and an empathetic kinship with the young protagonist.

The poetry
Rachel Watkins
Being a human being is terribly hard. Those stuck between childhood and adulthood can be the most vulnerable, dealing with grown-up issues without the necessary emotional tools. In I FELT A FUNERAL, IN MY BRAIN, Will Walton shares Avery's story in a format that is totally original and a beautiful representation of teenager's inner emotional life. This book is a poem, a eulogy, and also a work of short fiction that you will never forget. Walton took big risks with this book and the payoff is huge ...more
Tyler Goodson
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
On the first day of summer, Avery brings home a stack of poetry. Later that summer, as he tries to navigate crushing loss and disappointment, he turns to that poetry again and again; the reading and writing of it. This book is Avery's bold and thrilling record of his heartbreak, love, grief, and family. It's about creating art through pain, and dealing with pain through art. It blew me away.
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Not for the casual reader, this book asks a bit of its audience as the narrative unfolds in a non-linear manner, mixing past and present, poetry and prose. But worth the effort of a careful read, it's a hard-hitting exploration of love, loss, and the power of the written word.
Jaroda Goddard
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of my most anticipated releases of 2018, I FELT A FUNERAL, IN MY BRAIN is novel that reads like a poem. Avery is lost, trying to make sense of everything going on in his life. Inspired by the poems he reads, he decides to write his way through it all. Covering topics such as addiction, death and sexuality, Will Walton has woven a unique storytelling experience that is both brutally honest and honestly beautiful. I could not recommend this one enough.
How in the world do I review this book? It's a love poem; it's a eulogy; it's poetry; it's prose; it's uplifting; it's heart-cracking. I'm one of the luckiest people in the world to know Will Walton personally, and it's such rare and wonderful magic to read a book that so beautifully reflects the author's empathy and authenticity. Will Walton is all heart, and so is this book. You should add this to your to-read list right now.
andreea.  (paperrcuts)
I don't even know why, but I loved this weird little dark book.
Jun 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
This was not for me. So many glowing reviews, but it was a total miss for me. I felt very similarly when reading "Grief is the Thing with Feathers." I really wanted to like that one, as well...but just too weird for me.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book destroyed me. At first, I wanted to “figure it out,” but I quickly gave up and simply gave myself over to it’s beautiful strangeness. So many bits and parts just broke my heart. I couldn’t put it down.
Neil (or bleed)
Jun 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Quite difficult to read because of the fragmented narrative but it still has the punch anyway.
Casey Hannan
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
You've got to be in for the ride, and I was. This is a book that changes forms as you read it but never to trick or confuse you. It makes both intellectual and emotional sense by reflecting the ways we actually think and feel about our families, friends, lovers, idols, and selves.
Alex Reubert
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you love poetry, or pop music, or if someone you love has passed away, this book will mean a lot to you. I haven't read anything like it. I thought it was amazing.
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliantly crafted genre-bending glimpse into the poetic heart and soul of wise, naive, trusting, cautious adolescent Avery in a family blessed with love and bedeviled by alcoholism.
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very uniquely formatted book -- it's almost a novel in verse, but not quite... deals with themes of loss and grief and is told non-linearly. Protagonist Avery deals with his family's predilection for alcoholism and tries to cope with the loss of a family member and his feelings for his something-more-than-a-best-friend. I enjoyed it and looked up some poems from quite a few of the poets Walton mentioned. I read the whole thing quite quickly -- this isn't the kind of book you can walk away from f ...more
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This! Book! Because it's Will Walton writing, everything is tender and full of love, but also pain and questions and grappling with memories. I was struck by how different the prose style is here from his previous book, echoing the book's poetic concerns– it's not that it's more abstract, but rather both tighter and blurrier at the same time. It's a strange and loving text, all raw meat heart. I love it so much.
Taylor Lear
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just as perfect, if not more so, than his debut. Will Walton’s writing is the type that you could read for six hours straight on accident. It draws you in and breaks your heart in a way that makes you want to thank it. Thank you, Will, for another stunning novel.
Tracie Margaret
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1000, favs
Part poetry, part novel telling the tale of a teen and his journey with grief. Touching on identity, sexuality, alcoholism, mental health, great poets and family (both blood and the one we choose). Not for everyone but I liked the quirkiness and the main character.
I am shattering. I am thinking
We all tote around a rot, a sorrow-
In our bodies, like a
When do I get mine, if I haven't-
And I hope (how did you get yours)
That I have? What I am saying is-
like in Peter Pan-
The issue is not (really) growing up too soon.

4.5 stars.

Beautiful. This book is beautiful. I'll admit, I was very weary of picking it up at first. I got it in a bookstore on my birthday (thanks, mom) because I remembered seeing good reviews for it on here and I figured that I
This book is so on brand for me. And it lived up to my expectations. It was wonderfully confusing and wonderfully heartbreaking. I simply devoured it.
Rehan Abd Jamil
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Two feet on the floor. To be present, be.
Matthew Hidalgo
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2018
this is hard to rate but i'm going 3- keep it in the middle. what an odd book. i both loved and hated it i don't know how to describe this
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the kind of book that becomes a young person's favorite book that they read over and over again. Part of that is thay it will take multiple readings to really digest it all. My favorite line is, "if I am learning anything these days, it is that / The flames you keep touching when you're young, you keep right ahead on touching when you're older"
Ghostly  Writer
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018-reads
Before I read this, I was really anticipating how the characters involved would be portrayed. I felt as though the characters were one-dimensional, and I didn't enjoy the writing style that Walton uses in his writing.
Jan 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
The only thing that kept me going through this book is how quickly I was able to read it. Normally I am one for poetry/prose writing, but there were far too many things going on to really enjoy this book.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I was checking out at the library when the librarian showed me the cover of this book and the title caught my attention. It's a title that demands to be read. The beauty of Walton's book is that it doesn't follow the rules of standard fiction. It's doesn't have a middle, a beginning, or an end, but that's what makes it so good. It proves that if a novel is well written, it doesn't have to follow the rules. Problem is that for a lot of people this will be just a confusing mess with pop music ref ...more
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“Am I shattered enough already,
or am I
shattering? (And when do I start to build?)”
“Being young is like
being a moth, or alive I
I am burning, if I am learning any-
thing these days, it is that

The flames you keep touching when you're young,
you keep right ahead on touching when you're older.”
More quotes…