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Grab On to Me Tightly as if I Knew the Way:…

Grab On to Me Tightly as if I Knew the Way: A Novel (P.S.)

by Bryan Charles

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This is set in 1992 and following the life of Vincent "Vim" Sweeney. Vim is an eighteen-year-old who falls for his friend and bandmate's girlfriend, loses his virginity in a one-night stand and falls into heavy drinking. He lives with his mom and step-dad and feels estranged from his father, who was largely absent while he was growing up. This is an angst-y coming of age novel. Bryan Charles writes some of these like stream of consciousness and the effect is you feel like you are in Vim's head. Unfortunately, Vim is a shallow eighteen year old with delusions of grandeur and pretended depth. I did not find him a particularly likely protagonist. Vim sexualizes his interaction with women throughout this book and drinks way too much. I didn't think he grew much through the novel, though he does learn to express his anger to his dad and let go of some bitterness. He is still a punk kid and I found the pop-culture references a little cliche. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
Fantastic example of what a coming-of-age novel can be. Avoids sentimentality and really moves forward thanks to Charles's ability to write really profound, wonderful sentences. Essentially the tale of a kid graduating HS in the early 90s. But it takes place in Michigan, so it has this great feeling of uniqueness. I never felt like Charles was writing a cliched story. Amazing how that can be accomplished with a setup that has been done to death. ( )
  evanroskos | Mar 30, 2013 |
An engaging novel that fluctuates between brilliant, touching, confusing, offensive, and pretentious. Very well written and interesting take on the well used theme of "entering the real world. (Although I do find the underground punk music scene portions of the book to be a bit annoying.)

Gets a small bonus point for being set in my home state of Michigan. ( )
  GBev2008 | Sep 5, 2008 |
I read this in an afternoon not long after it's release. The draw for me was that it was set in Kalamazoo, where I live, written by a guy around my age. To me it read as non fiction due to how well he pegged our town. I don't rightly know if others would get the book as well if they didn't know the area, but anyone from the Kalamazoo area would love it! ( )
  jennififi | Jul 28, 2007 |
As if he read my senior year of high school and wrote it down in lyrical, simple prose. Required reading for any person who grew up in Kalamazoo or southwest Michigan. Or any one who ever grew up. Really excellent voice. I thought he was me. ( )
  smarks | Feb 8, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060882980, Paperback)

A wise, bighearted, and hilarious look at one teenager's life by a remarkable new voice in contemporary fiction

It's 1992, and as Vim Sweeney deals with the recent end of his high school career and the uncertainty of his future, America shares his angst. In Seattle, Kurt Cobain reeks of teen spirit. In Washington, George Bush (the first one) has just finished rattling his saber at Saddam Hussein. And in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Vim is trying to put off adulthood and all that comes with it, whatever that is, for as long as he can. He's already juggling guitars, girls, and a long-absent biological father who's suddenly making noise about Wanting to Be Involved. And he still can't convince his friends why local schoolboy hero Derek Jeter is bound for obscurity.

Grab On to Me Tightly as if I Knew the Way traces Vim's stumble toward adulthood as he comes to terms with his parents, balances friendships and infatuation with varying levels of success, and accepts that the things he thought would last forever probably won't. Generous in spirit and laugh-out-loud funny, here is a novel that introduces a tremendous new talent and deftly captures the alternately amusing and harrowing process of holding on until you find your way.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:08 -0400)

In 1992 Vim Sweeney is dealing with the recent end of his high school career and the uncertainty of his future. This novel traces his stumble toward adulthood as he learns to accept that the things he thought would last forever probably won't.

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