Andy does just enough to get by, sometimes less. Between hits from the bong, hallucinogenic shrooms, and eating dog food, Andy contemplates his friend’s suicide attempts, his final days of college assignments, and the importance of his education to his dismal-looking future. By his side are Macbeth-like witches, his meek roomate, and an out-of-date professor. And, of course, a girl.
Right off the bat I will say that reading about a bunch of stoned college undergrads prattling on because they once read The Communist Manifesto, and therefore feel they understand the world, is not my cup of tea. The characters feel like the cast of a 1990s teen TV drama, and the diatribes on political and social ideology are so overwrought it is sometimes difficult to tell if the author is simply trying too hard or if such passages are meant to be farcical. There are hints throughout that the author’s intent is to craft a piece of relevant social commentary. There is certainly potential here for that. However, I find that the story ultimately lacks the understated effortlessness essential to achieving so a lofty goal.
That being said, I have little doubt that to many readers this series of drug-fueled adventures will be appealing. Overall, the story is well crafted and entertaining. The characters may be cliche, but they still feel very real to the reader. Kudera’s skill as a short story writer is evident, and feel certain we will be seeing more from him in the future.
Reviewed by Aubrey Bennet