Thursday, February 2, 2017

Book Review: "Every Giant Becomes a Monster" by Collins Kelly

Colson is a 19-year-old noise musician who leaves his troubled past behind him and rides the rails, searching for a new beginning. He thinks he may have found this in a small Arizona desert town called Flaggtrapp, especially when Donna, a sexy bartender, pays him some kindness. For a young man who has always been self-conscious of his excessively crooked teeth and his skinny body, attention from a woman like Donna goes right to his head.

The thing is, Donna is married to Travis, a former Marine who has never quite been the same since his time in Iraq. He used to be a well-known musician in the punk scene, but since he returned home, he'd much rather get wasted, cheat on his wife, and get into fights. But when he meets Colson, he feels kinship with a fellow musician, whose presence encourages his creativity and revitalizes his desire to perform—when he's reasonably sober.

Donna lets Colson know that her marriage no longer makes her happy, and she'd be receptive to starting something with Colson once Travis moves out. But despite getting some mixed messages from Donna, and discovering some troubling things about her past, he's willing to do whatever she wants—even help precipitate Travis' exiting her life. Colson is torn about betraying Travis, but the possibility of finally finding someone to be with is more powerful than anything else.

As Travis becomes increasingly more unhinged, and Donna becomes more demanding, Colson isn't sure where to turn or what to do, but his singular focus could have disastrous consequences for all.

In the words of Mrs. Potts, this is a tale as old as time—man wants woman, woman is married, woman convinces man to help her get unmarried, disaster ensues. I had hoped that Every Giant Becomes a Monster would provide a fresh twist on this story, but for the most part this book unfolded much as I expected it to. I was disappointed by that, honestly, because I thought Colson's character was very interesting and I saw a lot of potential there, but I guess like most troubled 19-year-old men, he was focused on one thing only.

As the story unfolded, the book became more and more of a downer. And at the very end, some information about Colson comes to light that really would have been more interesting to know earlier on, and perhaps Collins Kelly could have done something with it. I found that frustrating, although I guess it was conveying the message that we can't always blame our circumstances for the trouble we find ourselves in.

I think Kelly is a writer with some promise, and his take on the underground music scene was really interesting, but ultimately, this book didn't really work for me.

NetGalley and Rosethorn provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

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