9 February 2018

Where Night Stops by Douglas Light

So this book was sent to us by Rare Bird Books and to be honest, this review is nearly a complete waste because I barely understood any aspects of the plot. I feel poorly because I'm clearly just too simple to understand a piece of work an author has spent a ton of time and effort on. I do still think this book was incredibly well written (Light has a clear way with syntax) and I miraculously still found it entertaining despite not understanding what was going on. 

Here is my best, likely insulting, summary of the plot... The main character is fresh out of high school when his parents die in a car crash. He runs away, becomes homeless for a while, and gets involved in some sort of criminal 'ring'. I say 'ring' because he is consistently doing 'pickups' and 'drop offs' of flash drives and money and such, but it's never explicitly said what's going on here (or it is and I didn't get it- it took me until I was twenty-five years old to realize everyone around me had been doing cocaine for years without me knowing, so there is a very large chance what was happening in this book was obvious and like I said, I missed it). Anyways, he continues doing these pickups and drop offs for most of the book. At a few points he even needs to kill a few people (although it seems by accident). He spends a lot of time thinking about his parents and there is a section where he is involved with a girl named Sarah, which I really enjoyed. At the end, things somehow come full circle and the person who leads the 'ring' has also known him in his previous life? Or something? The ending SEEMED like it would have been very cool and Inception-esque, but again, I didn't get it.

Douglas Light

I enjoyed reading the parts where he pursued a relationship with Sarah quite a bit because I felt like I could relate to her. She spends all this time and effort trying to settle the main character, ground him, have him confide in her and let her in to his secret world but he never can. He lies to her, abandons her for weeks at a time on jobs, etc. This is super stressful for me having been in a similar-ish relationship where I never really knew what was actually going on with the guy. I felt for Sarah, it's so tiring and frustrating.

I could get used to the normal life, I kept telling myself. Get a dull job at a movie theater or some magazine, have dinner parties with people I didn't particularly like, shop at Ikea, even endure holiday visits to Sarah's folks. I'd murdered men. There was no way domesticity was more difficult."

One thing I didn't like about the main character is he actively makes all these terrible choices (trying to burn down his dead parents' house for the insurance money, getting involved with a sketchy guy at his homeless shelter, continuing to do these illegal jobs, murdering people, etc.) but he continues to blame his unfortunate circumstances and never himself. It gets so annoying to even listen to and I'm not sure he ever learns any differently by the end.

'I'm not a bad person', I told myself, 'it's just that my life is bad.'"

I knew firsthand that, unstaunched, those bad breaks escalate. The world tastes blood. You become a continuous victim, and contrary to what all religions and governments and nonprofit organizations claim, mankind loves a victim, a loser, someone downtrodden- it loves someone to pick on."

What a quote. I will be saying "the world tastes blood" for the rest of my life.

I will say despite all this, I did pity his character throughout. He lost his parents right when he should have been going to college and becoming an adult. He ends up super lost in the world, takes a bad road, and then I can imagine it would be super hard to pull yourself off that road. He compares his job to an abusive relationship, hoping each time he goes to a 'job' that it's somehow more civilized:

One thing- one of the many things- I learned reading the women's magazines was that breaking free of an abusive relationship was tough. Nearly impossible. We can't do the hard work needed because we can't get past our own lies. We keep telling ourselves 'this time will be different.' It's not. It'll never be."

So, as my final review, I didn't understand this plot at all, but I still found the book entertaining enough to finish. I would be willing to read more books by Douglas Light and hope that the storyline is just easier to follow because I do like his writing style. I can't exactly recommend this book to anyone... because I don't know who would like it... because I don't know what it's about... BUT Where Night Stops is available to buy on February 13th. Don't let my simple mind stop you from trying it out if this sounds up your alley.

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