Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Blog Tour: Something Pretty Something Beautiful by Eric Barnes

Author: Eric Barnes
Publisher: Outpost 19
Date of Publication: June 2013

In Tacoma, a circle of friends finds their leader in Will Wilson. Together, they drink, they get high, they take girls to the woods-but Will Wilson keeps pushing toward darker extremes. As the descent gets steeper, there is a way out: another friend's fishing boat off the coast of Alaska. There is life after Tacoma. But the choice has to be made, and some friendships feel more than inevitable. 

This book should have been titled, "Something Pretty, Something Dark".  This book is definitely not a light read. While it was fairly quick to read, there is a lot of heavy content. I would probably compare this to the feeling one would get if you came upon a disturbing car accident.  You may feel uncomfortable looking, but you can't seem to tear your eyes from the scene.  I felt this way reading this book. While I felt icky in parts, I couldn't put it down.  I knew where the overall story was headed, but I felt compelled to take the journey with Brian Porter, the narrator.  At the end, I was disturbed, but ultimately, I liked the book and I do recommend it.

The book is told in 6 parts.  Each part is broken down into the same 5 sections.  It's not told in a linear timeline and it took a bit getting used to the rhythm of the story.  Basically, Brian Porter takes you on a trip through his childhood in the 70s in Tacoma. You get to see where he grew up and how he easily was taken in by Will Wilson. Along with Will and 2 other boys, they basically create chaos in the town on a daily basis.  Underage drinking, underage driving, unprotected and sometimes forced sex, and drugs are just the short list.  Will Wilson seems to have an evil streak that no one picks up on until it is too late.  In contrast to that, Brian also shows us his very different friendship with Kyle, the boy who offers him a different life in Alaska.  Honestly, he is the only character I liked in the whole book!

The book is also a great and relevant commentary on society, even for today  When we look the other way and don't intervene, things can go horribly wrong.  Brian and his friends are pretty much ignored by their parents and are given free reign. Sadly, it didn't end the way I was hoping it would. But, then life is like, that, right?  I was still left with some questions in the end.  While this tends to bother me, I was OK with it in this book.  I think that getting all of the answers wasn't the point of the book.  We don't always get answers, and, sometimes, we just have to forget them and move on.

About the author:

Eric Barnes is the writer of the novels Something Pretty, Something Beautiful, from Outpost19, called "the most harrowing portrait of American boys careening into manhood that I've ever read, by the writer Benjamin Whitmer. He is also the writer of the novel Shimmer, an IndieNext pick from Unbridled Books that reviewers likened to the work of Don Delillo, David Foster-Wallace, and William Gibson. Eric has published numerous short stories in Prairie Schooner, The Literary Review, Best American Mystery Stories, and other publications.

He is the publisher of The Daily NewsThe Memphis News and The Nashville Ledger, local publications covering business and politics in Memphis and Nashville. He is also host of Behind the Headlines on WKNO.
Eric was once COO (and, before that, Publisher and Managing Editor) of Towery Publishing, a publisher of city guides, books, maps, city sites and business directories for cities around the country. Towery went under in 2003, a sad and endless and unforgettable experience that culminated in the purchase of a few cases of beer for the remaining staff at one final staff meeting at Union and Mclean.

Prior to that, Eric was managing editor of a business magazine in New York City, was a reporter in small-town Connecticut, worked construction on Puget Sound and drove a forklift in Kenai, Alaska.
Eric lives in Memphis. Previously he lived in New York, and before that in New London, Connecticut. He grew up in Tacoma, Washington, and Juneau, Alaska. He attended the Columbia University School of the ArtsConnecticut College, and Woodrow Wilson High School.

Eric is the father of Reed, Mackenzie, Andrew and Lucy, and husband to Elizabeth, a wonderful person and incredible teacher at Memphis University School.

Twitter: ericbarnes2

Other tour dates:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately life is like that sometimes - things go horribly wrong and no one intervenes. Hopefully this book will remind readers to step in whenever they can to prevent things from getting worse. It definitely reminded me to keep a close eye on my son as he reaches his teenage years!

Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page tonight.