REVIEW: Flatscreen by Adam Wilson
Thanks to HarperCollins and NetGalley for allowing me to review this ARC.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Eli Schwartz doesn’t have much going for him. He’s a couple years out of high school but doesn’t attend college. In fact, he doesn’t do much of anything. He lives in his mom’s basement, caught in a numbing cycle of drugs, internet surfing, and loneliness. The only things he has going for him are his love of cooking and his hyperactive imagination, which he combines with his immense knowledge of movies and TV to create scenes in his head featuring the people in his world.
So needless to say, he isn’t too happy when his mother tells him that she is selling the house where he grew up. The house is quickly bought by a crippled, washed up actor named Kahn. Eli and Kahn form an inexplicable friendship that is awkward but fulfilling.
Eli struggles with the idea of being forced to change, and the story is told as he navigates through his sad existence, trying to cope and looking for something to anchor himself to.
It took me a little while to get into this story. For the whole first half, I was wondering what the point was. But I guess that was supposed the be it–the story had nowhere to go because Eli was going nowhere. When I finally got to the turning point, the story picked up speed and got interesting.
The characters are all done very well. Eli was not the best narrator I’ve ever had in a book. His thoughts moved fast and as a result the book is an annoying jumble of run on sentences that compose entire paragraphs. But I get it. His head was a mess.
Eli does not have a normal relationship with anyone in his life, and I’m still not sure if that was because of Eli himself, or that everyone he knows is so deeply flawed. The character I liked best was his mother, even though their relationship made me slightly uncomfortable at times…but I think most of that was a result of how she was viewed through Eli’s mind.
I’d give this story 3 1/2 stars. I liked that Eli was somehow self-aware and incredibly naive at the same time. It made for an interesting character study, at least. This book wasn’t as LOL funny as all the blurbs would have you believe, but to the right audience it is worth a read anyway.