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The Reason You're Alive: A Novel by…
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The Reason You're Alive: A Novel

by Matthew Quick

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I read this book because it was written in the life experiences of a Vietnam veteran (Phillies fan) which I am. After reading I truly coulbn't determine what the author's intenion was. . Most thoughts from the main character were either expletives or political incorrecness ad absurdum. The veteran became very successful as a banker, but couldn't escape his daily exposure to death in Vietnam. Not being able to understand the author's intent I have rated this book substantially below other readers. ( )
  66usma | Aug 20, 2017 |
Matthew Quick is an author I haven’t read before so when the opportunity arose to read The Reason You’re Alive, I grabbed it. The book did not disappoint – this is a politically incorrect, sometimes unintentionally hilarious book that is actually full of love and care for others. David Granger is a hero wrapped in profanities, hiding a soft heart underneath.

From the opening line, The Reason You’re Alive doesn’t pull any punches. David Granger is here to tell you how it is and you’d better behave. Don’t go getting any fancy ideas about what you’re planning to do with this information. David has just woken up from surgery and is cut up to hear that he’s going to need looking after for a while. David is a Vietnam veteran and he doesn’t do care. He’d much prefer to be dressed in camo, packing heat. David knows that the war screwed him up and he’s done his best to be a husband, friend and father since in his own unorthodox way. He says exactly what he thinks on how he sees the world. He doesn’t like his son’s wife, nor his job and both know it. Yet one of his best friends is ‘genetically Vietnamese’, he’s devoted to his spin class trainer who happens to be gay and he’d do anything for his granddaughter. David talks tough and rough but he’s dedicated to the things he loves. I loved his grumpiness and I often laughed out loud in part shock/part seeing his opinions reflect men of the same era.

David has one mission left to do that his friends and family will hope give him some closure on his Vietnam service. As a soldier, he was forced to discipline another and took something precious. When he wakes up from surgery, that’s all he can talk about. So his loved ones (and he does have a lot of them) decide to help him right that wrong. David’s scared but something positive just might come his way too…

I loved this story for so many reasons. It’s unconventional, blunt and a breath of fresh air in today’s world. It goes to show that tough talk that goes against the social grain can hide some good people. (I’m not saying this is reflective of everyone though!) David is an unexpected, unlikely hero of today. He’s unique. It also made me consider how much thanking someone for their military service could potentially go a long way, no matter how much you personally disagree with the reason for war/intervention. David was one in a machine, forced to do what he had to do. He didn’t decide to send his country to war but he went. So thank you for your service Veterans, no matter where you were and what you did. In addition, David meets with a lot of people in his life but he can always find the goodness in them, no matter their race, history, politics or sexual orientation.

The Reason You’re Alive is a short book at 226 pages, but it’s one that packs a punch above its weight. A likeable book that will remain with you despite an initially grumpy, cranky narrator.

Thank you to Pan Macmillan for the copy of this book. My review is honest.

http://samstillreading.wordpress.com ( )
  birdsam0610 | Aug 19, 2017 |
The Reason You're Alive by Matthew Quick is a very highly recommended novel about a 68 year-old opinionated Vietnam vet who unflinchingly says exactly what's on his mind in his own way.

After David Granger wraps his BMW around a tree, tests reveal a brain tumor that is subsequently removed. David blames the war and his exposure to Agent Orange for the tumor. He also strangely kept repeating a name while in recovery - Clayton Fire Bear. Fire Bear was a Native American soldier who was his nemesis. Granger is telling us about his life while writing this report, the book, and he will eventually get to what happened between him and Clayton Fire Bear, but first, during his report, we get to learn a whole lot about his life, his pride in serving his country, and his beliefs.

He loves his granddaughter, Ella. He doesn't understand or respect his ultra-PC son, Hank. He detests his Dutch daughter-in-law. He loved his wife. He likes his gay friends, Gay Timmy and Gay Johnny. His best friend is Sue, a Vietnamese American. As Granger tells us about his life, in his own way and using his own word choice that some may find offensive, actually he is surprisingly open and supportive to other people. While reading, pay attention to his actions, not his words and you'll discover that Granger is a much more well-rounded, accepting, and compassionate person than perhaps his PC son and daughter-in-law, and others of their ilk, have ever been.

Yeah, he's opinionated, but in the end I liked this old vet quite a bit. It made me think that if we paid more attention to the good in others right now instead of seeking out the worst behavior, we could bypass much of the polarization of ideological camps that is currently happening. Sure, Granger says cringe-worthy things all the time, but his friends see beyond the words and his irascible behavior, and adore the man.

The Reason You're Alive is a fast-paced, clever, engrossing story about a man's life experiences. It is extremely well-written and, in some ways, an insightful, rewarding novel. I can guarantee you that if there is an offensive way to say something, Granger will say it. You will have to keep reading past the beginning and initial impressions, look beyond what Granger says and start noticing his actions. The David Granger you will know in the end is a much more complete picture of the man you see in the beginning. All the characters are well developed and unique individuals, but David Granger is singularly one of the most unique, honest characters I've come across in a long time.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.
http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2017/07/the-reason-youre-alive.html
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2055999301 ( )
1 vote SheTreadsSoftly | Jul 10, 2017 |
Matthew Quick never lets me down. He is wonderful at getting in the mind of his characters and letting his reader understand mental illness and emotional distress. The Reason You're Alive is the story of Vietnam vet, Daniel Granger. After a car accident makes him have brain surgery he is sent to live with his son and granddaughter. Told in a crass, un-politically, unapologetic voice, this book is sure to win over readers. Daniel tells it like it is, from his marriage, experiences in the war, troubles with his son, guns, and race. It's funny, shocking, distressing, and hopeful. I wasn't sure where the story was headed for the first half of the book but it wrapped up nicely at the end and brought everything back together. Another slam dunk for Matthew Quick. ( )
1 vote ecataldi | Jul 10, 2017 |
July 4th seems like the right day to review Matthew Quick's new novel - The Reason You're Alive.

David Granger is a sixty eight year old Vietnam vet. He's also a father, a grandfather, a widower, a businessman, a friend, an enemy and a man with a brain tumor. The book opens with Granger recovering in hospital from surgery, seemingly reporting to a 'government representative' about his past. Specifically about a man he calls Clayton Fire Bear. "But I can't tell you everything about Fire Bear before I put it all in context." But there's also another driving force behind his staying alive... his son and granddaughter ...."My old man's dying words echoed in my head once more. It was clear that I had one last mission. And I always, always, always complete my mission." And so begins David Granger's tale.....

I must admit I was hesitant when I first started reading The Reason You're Alive. Granger is a 'tell it like I see it' narrator. His language is not politically correct or are some of his viewpoints. I continued though, as I was curious as to where Quick would take Granger's life. And in the end, I was so very glad I did - by the last few chapters I had tears in my eyes. (and a few other times as well) Yup, that much of a turnaround. I think we've all met a David Granger - gruff words and exteriors hide the fortitude, resolve, pain, stoicism and more behind the front presented to the world.

The foreshadowing at the end of many chapters had me reading 'just another chapter' until I finished all 240 pages in a morning. I enjoyed the dark humour peppered throughout. Quick's depiction of a vet with PTSD is eye opening, frightening and truly saddening. But the book itself also funny, redemptive and heartwarming.

As with previous Quick books, there are some plot pieces that seemed a little far fetched - but that's the type of book and characters I have come to expect and enjoy from Quick. The Reason You're Alive is clever, serendipitous and so very good. If you enjoyed The Silver Linings Playbook, this is a book you'll enjoy as well. (And it is being developed for film as well.) ( )
1 vote Twink | Jul 4, 2017 |
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Sixty-eight-year-old David has a brain tumor that he attributes to Agent Orange exposure. He wakes up from surgery repeating the name of a Native American soldier whom he was once ordered to discipline, and decides to return something precious he long ago stole from that man.… (more)

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