Maverick Jetpants in the City of Quality - Bill Peters
So I kind of had to read this book because it takes place in my hometown. Since not that many do, I always get really excited when I find one that does because then the book is all "I drove down X street, past Y street, and that shady gas station", I'm like "I KNOW X STREET AND Y STREET AND THAT IS A DAMN SHADY GAS STATION" and it's just a really good time. Rest assured, there was a lot of that in this book.
Right. It's 1999 and Nate Gray is the definition of a twenty-something loser-- junior college dropout, unemployed with no immediate plans to become employed, lives with Mom...etc. He spends most of his time cruising around town, making jokes with his friends...and that's about it really. Suddenly, his best friend, Necro, starts hanging out with some freaky weapons-touting-NeoNazi-types and there's all these explosions and fires around town and Nate starts to suspect that maybe Necro is involved. But really he just wants to know if they're still friends or what.
To be honest, it felt kind of like a really extended short story and was kind of meander-y. There was an actual Plot, but the narrative seemed to drift in and around it. There'd be a chapter speculating on the arson and Necro's possible involvement in said arson, and then in the next chapter, they're driving some random girl to Buffalo.
And I get it, the Plot's not the point of the story, it's a coming-of-age/slice of life story. But there's a certain level of cohesion I just felt was lacking. Then the Plot ended...and stuff still kept happening, and while none of that is necessarily bad per se, it just felt very...so what?
In fact, I think that's pretty much the main thing about this book. Peters tries a lot of interesting stuff that isn't bad, so much as...improperly executed? For instance, Nate and his friends use this in-joke slang that Peters melds into the dialogue and narration of the book which reminded me a little of A Clockwork Orange, but it didn't come off as successfully as A Clockwork Orange in that it never really seemed to click. But like I said, it's not terrible. There are some nuggets of really, really, good writing scattered throughout. The problem is that the whole book isn't at that same level. That's not to say that the rest of his writing is bad, it's just...not as good.
This is Peters' first book and it really reads as such, but he's by no means a lost cause--he definitely has potential and, as with everything, I'm sure he'll improve with time and practice. I just don't think Maverick Jetpants was quite as well put-together as it could have been.
I was sort of wavering between 2.5 and 3, because I kind of liked it, but I was also kind of meh, but it's not really that bad, but also it wasn't that great...........
3/5 for the sake of hometown pride.