This story will feel familiar when you begin reading – and maybe even after you finish. The main character is a vaguely shitty and traumatized guy who wrote a book about his distinctly shitty and traumatizing town and now he’s back for punishment. Even though the general “mean/homophobic townsfolk may have a few lessons up their sleeve to teach a vaguely shitty man who left the town” type plot has been played out before for us as readers/viewers, I do think Jonathan Tropper did a good job making his story stand out a bit. Not much, but enough.
There were a lot of emotionally devastating moments, and a lot of moments that felt a bit forced or rushed. I think Tropper spent a good part of the book gearing up for the revelations/climax but once you got to it, it wasn’t as rewarding as it felt it should have been. However, Tropper truly has a gift for writing. Every detail, description, and word chosen felt meticulously put there yet also as if it all just flowed together without effort for him. I do love the way he writes, it’s genuinely beautiful.
Overall, I think this was a good, quick book to read as a palette cleanser for me going between one thick book to the next. The topic wasn’t hard to wrap my brain around, and the ending was in a nice-enough bow that I have no qualms with it. Sometimes you just need that somewhat expected, an easy story filled with love, sadness, and enough emotions to not scar you entirely.