Alyssa's Reviews > Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn
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's review
Oct 03, 2011

really liked it
Read in October, 2011

Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (or ABNSC) is one of those books where it is hard to say if it is good or bad. There are great examples of why it could be both, but I believe it is one of those books that just exists in its own world. I feel that it true of most memoirs. After all, who am I to judge someone’s life? It is that way that their story is told that makes it good or bad.

There are certain things I do really like about ABNSC. For one thing, nothing is held back. Nick admits what he did in his past, whether it was getting drunk with a girlfriend and crashing a motorcycle or buying a homeless guy breakfast to talk. I think this is one of Flynn’s strongest points. No matter what he does, the reader always sympathizes with him. It must be hard to do this. He must admit that he was involved in a series of actions that lead to his mother’s suicide. Flynn must also admit that his father is homeless, and while he might give his father the cash in his pocket, he never let him sleep in his apartment. These are dark family secrets that many people would not feel comfortable to write or even tell a best friend. However, Flynn still writes it. While courage may not be a literary technique studied in high school English, it might be greater than metaphors and imagery combined.

While I appreciate Flynn’s courage, there were parts of the memoir I did not enjoy. For example, while figurative language might be great in a novel, they don’t fit well in this. There are many parts where Flynn will leave the plot and go off describing unrelated details, such as the chapter “Ulysses.” These might be beautiful words, but they feel out of place. In a memoir, I rather just have the events and the details to describe them. Sometimes imagery is great, but sometimes it’s not needed, and this is one of the places.

What I did enjoy about the book was the overall message. It clearly wanted to tell the audience both about the homeless problem in Boston and the poor relationship between Nick and his father and its results. While choppy at some points, it does tell the audience that there are problems in the world and they need to be changed. Overall, this book can be looked at as a good, honest memoir with a clear message, although it can be overloaded with unneeded and unfitting figurative language.

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