Monday, January 28, 2008

by Gerard Donovan

It may sound cheesy, but yes, I read this book because the author and I share the same last name. I am glad I read the book because it was well worth the read.

Sunless is a complicated story of a boy named Jimmy who grows up in the near future in an America that is anxiety-ridden due to the scare from terrorism. The terror alerts seem to be the scare tactics designed to keep the nation addicted to pharmaceutical anti-anxiety drugs.

Sunless (what Jimmy calls himself) is the main character who losses his father from an unnamed, but treatable, illness. His father lost his life from the lack of health insurance. He also gets rejected for a possible life-saving clinical trial. Before the loss of his father, Sunless' mother has a stillborn child - Sunless' brother. The stillborn death of his brother haunts him for the rest of his life. The loss depresses Sunless' mother, Mary, and she goes on medication, leaving her in a stupor for the rest of Sunless' childhood.

In his teens Sunless starts popping prescription drugs from his mothers stash and the story takes some psychedelic and fateful turns from then on.

Donovan's style is abstract and cloudy. You don't, as a reader, have to see through the clouds and fill your own images, such as peoples faces and particular settings. Details are not built for the reader. This style of writing makes the story more personal. Much of the imagery goes off on wild drug induced tangents where quirkiness pervades the prose.

Sunless is a quick read, but pulls you in as you try and cheerleader for Sunless to get through his childhood unscathed.

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