Reading time 3 mins

THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR YOU is so unique. I wasn’t sure about it at first but the main character grew on me. I have come up with a list why you might want to skip this book, just in case this book really isn’t for you…

  • You don’t like swearing in books
  • You don’t want the main character to remind you that you are reading a book
  • You don’t really believe in ghosts
  • You need a character that is all good and not morally grey at all
  • You need well defined love interests
  • You never want to meet an orphan named Neptune who falls in love, has a ghost following him, steals dynamite from a bunch of skin heads, and dreams of someday making it out of somewhere-ville, Kansas

Those are all the reasons that I thought that I didn’t need to finish this book. It turns out I was wrong. Neptune grew on me and I wish I could go back and experience his story all over again.

Neptune makes a lot of mistakes. Neptune even chose the name “Neptune” for himself, so you know it is going to be a wild ride. He freely admits that his stupid decisions got him involved with an anti-racist skin-head group that plotted to blow something up. Neptune steals the dynamite, making him the gang’s “most wanted”. He then stops in to visit his ex-english teacher, his mentor, to help her out. She is bat shit crazy, but he still answers her calls. They have a weird relationship. From there he goes to a bar and hooks up with a girl. When he wakes up the next day he finds his mentor dead and himself a wanted man.

This story isn’t written in a conventional way. The character is actually telling you the story, and he doesn’t let you forget that you are reading this. Neptune is a CATCHER IN THE RYE sort of character and except that he is in a more contemporary setting and I found him much more relatable.

“There’s only one chance to make the first miserable, lasting impression they say, but that’s bullshit. I’m newly unimpressed with people all the time.”

“She told me some stuff, the kind of stuff that cements together a life. She used to own two cats. She was in AA for a while, but now she wasn’t. She was getting a bachelor’s degree in physics.
She began to explain. She drew with the dew from our glasses. She made our glasses smash into each other.
She gave me the weight of the falling object; she gave me the height of the fall.”

Every chapter is Chapter One. I didn’t pick up on it at first, but then I realized I was definitely not on Chapter One and yet that is what the book just told me. I think the point is that this story could start anywhere and still be complete. It isn’t just a story. This is a rage-fueled tale that includes a murder mystery and a romance of sorts.

There is a bit of magical-realism in this story. Don’t read it for that reason alone, though. Read it because you need to meet Neptune. Read it because Neptune is what happens when a character needs to be redeemed and meets his match in the opposite sex. Read it because the story Neptune tells just an interesting story full of highly quotable text. This was a good book. I loved it enough to recommend it highly.

My Rating

Review: THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR YOU by Daniel A. HoytThis Book Is Not for You by Daniel Hoyt
Published by Dzanc Books on November 7th 2017
Pages: 288
Genres: Fiction, Literary
eARC provided by Dzanc Books

AmazonBook Depository

Utilizing an innovative mashup of genres, ranging from pulp fiction, dark comedy, and metafiction, This Book Is Not for You charts the actions of nineteen-year-old Neptune, a misfit and punk haunted by the death of his parents. Having fallen in with an anarchist group determined to blow up a university building, he steals the dynamite instead, igniting an entirely different brand of trouble: the murder of his mentor; a three-way manhunt; and the mystery of the Ghost Machine, a walkman that replays snippets from his own twisted past. Told in a nonstop chain of Chapter Ones, Daniel A. Hoyt's debut novel explores the clash between chaos and calm, the instinct for self-destruction and the longing for redemption.

About Daniel Hoyt

Daniel A. Hoyt is an associate professor at Kansas State University. His first story collection, Then We Saw the Flames, won the Juniper Prize for Fiction and was published by the University of Massachusetts Press. His recent work has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, The Sun, and other magazines. He lives in Manhattan, Kansas, with his wife and son.

I received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

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