Wednesday, November 29, 2017

SHOTGUN LOVESONGS by Nickolas Butler

Why do men sometimes feel compelled to confess their indiscretions?  This is a buddy book in which one buddy’s ill-advised admission drives a wedge into his relationship with his best friend.  Hank, along with his wife Beth and their two barely-mentioned children, runs a marginally profitable dairy farm in the small town of Little Wing, Wisconsin.  Lee is a wildly successful singer and songwriter who can’t seem to stay away from Little Wing.  Beth, along with former rodeo rider Ronny and obnoxious Kip, are the other first person narrators.  I found this employment of the ever-changing narrator to have both pluses and minuses.  On the plus side, we get a very good sense of who these characters are, or at least how they view themselves.  On the other hand, at times I felt that the author was having to stretch to make the narrator fit the narrative.  There’s one other contrivance in the book, and that’s a prank near the end that is intended as a catalyst to mending Lee and Hank’s broken friendship.  For me, getting your former best friend involved in a minor heist is not conductive to gaining his forgiveness, but what do I know about men’s friendships?  The bottom line is that while Hank and Beth grind out a living, Lee is living the dream but still wants what Hank and Beth have—each other.

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