Angie Adamson's Reviews > Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn
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's review
Aug 27, 2011

really liked it
Read in September, 2011

Nick Flynn’s Another Bullshit Night in Suck City is a very personal story of his life as he wanders aimlessly and drunk through his young adulthood, and finds himself getting a job at a nearby homeless shelter, the Pine Street Inn. This homeless shelter becomes another personal “possession” to Nick as he struggles with the memory of his drunk father who left his life 20 or so years ago. His father, Jonathan, never leaves his mind because of the Inn, which is a constant reminder of the relationship lost so long ago. Nick develops relationships with these men, who come and go each night and seem to mirror exactly how Nick pictured his father. As he learns more and more about them, Nick is more and more influenced by the looming idea of his father. The more the reader learns about Nick, the more sympathetic he seems towards his father. Although his bad decisions and terrible life choices have landed him without a family and lost for what seems for the rest of his life.
When his father finally surfaces, other than just in letter and his memories, Nick find it difficult to treat him as his father. He detaches himself from any sort of personal relationship. This gives the reader a sense of defeat and self-preservation. Nick is not allowing himself to see his father, a pathetic con-man, as anything other than just that. He is now a mirror image of the men who drift in and out of the Pine Inn.
The intense hate inside of Flynn drives the novel into a dark mysterious place, where the reader can see the parallels and direct connection between Nick Flynn and his father. Although Flynn, after his own battles with temptation and poor life choices, pulls himself free of that lifestyle, he is never really free of his father’s damages done to himself. The lingering presence of his father seems to be the little push Nick Flynn uses to continue his life forward at the Inn and when finally confronted with the man himself, he is halted. It is apparent that the man who used to be, no longer is a burden, but simply another homeless man.
This story is written with such anguish and personal battle. It gives the reader a sense of tragedy and hope at the same time. I feel the true anguish inside myself. Nick Flynn’s writing strategy of raw truth is really impactful. Each word is a scraping crawl of anguish (in a great way).

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