Katie Campbell's Reviews > Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn
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's review
Nov 15, 2011

really liked it

I personally really enjoyed this book. Nick Flynn’s memoir about his relationship with his alcoholic father was so real to me. My father disappeared from my life due to alcohol when I was 12, and after 8 and a half years, he called me asking to meet up with me. Since I met up with him a few months ago, he has been occasionally calling me or texting me. It’s just like in the book how Nick’s father resurfaced through letters and stories. Nick’s father was described as a criminal and dead-beat man who burned bridges left and right. My father was the same way. I think Flynn did a good job of characterization with his father; it could just be because I could relate, and I felt like I met him already. He structured the story by showing his father’s life and his life as well. He himself went down the path of alcohol and had a fear of ending up like his father. I really like when he said, “You can spend your entire life simply falling in that direction. It isn’t a station you reach, but just the general state of going down”. Suck City ends up being his father’s nickname for his hometown in Massachusetts. It plays a major setting role as it was the setting for many of Nick’s major events in his life; the events that his father was absent for. I really enjoyed when Flynn began working at the Pine Street Inn. It was one of the nation’s most active homeless shelters. This became another huge plot in the story as he described many people just like his father. Many homeless men would drift right on through the shelter night after night. Flynn described some of these men; he knew several of their names, their stories. He made some connections with some of them, something he could never make with his father. Personally, my father is the same way; he’s homeless. I don’t know how to help him, but I felt that Flynn working at a shelter really showed that he did care somewhat and it kind of makes me want to do the same. I liked Flynn’s style of writing, and I thought the story flowed well. I think the major reason that I loved this piece so much is because I find it so relatable. Reading stories that I can relate to teaches me a lot about writing, and style. It makes me think about different ways I can portray a story that is so similar to my life. So many of the sentences that Nick Flynn wrote spoke to me. I loved when he said, “If I went to the drowning man and the drowning man would pull me under. I couldn’t be his life raft.” I loved how he portrayed his alcoholism as drowning. Jonathan was drowning in alcohol, in his sorrows. And the metaphor of Jonathan being a life raft was strong; it was true. It makes me think of my father. I really enjoyed though throughout this whole piece that Nick Flynn never asked the reader to feel sorry for him. He just said this sad story, laid it all out there for his readers in a way that makes us feel for him without his begging, so to speak.

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