Book Review: We’re All Damaged

By Douglas Soule on June 06, 2016 from Book Review via Connect-Bridgeport.com

Few books have made me laugh, cry, and cringe in a single chapter. We’re All Damaged accomplishes this with ease, gaining control of my emotions in the first paragraph. Matthew Norman, the author, is a hypnotist. Not one of those ones that puts you on a stage and gives you odd commands which you feel obliged to follow. Norman is an actual hypnotist, who can selectively alter his audience’s mental state with a few written words.
 
This book is written through the first-person perspective of Andy Carter. Recent events have made Andy a bit crazy. His wife called it quits in an Applebee’s. He ruined his best friend’s wedding by throwing up everywhere, punching his best friend’s dad and crashing his best friend’s truck.  His ex-wife now dates the paramedic-next-door. Andy, in a fit of despair, moved to New York. A year passes. An uneventful year filled with alcohol, ice cream, and his new pet- a stray cat. Then he gets a call-- his grandpa is dying. Andy must return to his motherland, Nebraska, the place where his ex-wife and his dysfunctional family live.
 
The characters in We’re All Damaged are lovely and flawed. They are humans driven by human needs, not for the sole reason of furthering the plot. Too often in modern fiction the side characters are paper thin, merely thrown into a story to add some diversity. It becomes tiring, like carrying your wife’s purse as she scavenges through clothing stores. In this piece, however, everyone is genuine, afflicted with an eventually-fatal case of life.
 
I found this book hilarious in many parts. After a life proliferated with comedy-- South Park, SNL, and Dane Cook (just kidding),--it takes a lot to make me laugh out loud. Usually when I type LOL onto my phone it’s a lie. Yet, I’m not fibbing when I say that at one point in We’re All Damaged, I had to physically refrain myself from spewing Coca-Cola out of my mouth after coming across a funny (and yes, inappropriate) part. Who can blame me? Tossed into the plot are enemy squirrels, glitter bombs, hilarious social interactions, and so much more.
 
Today’s political controversies are also given a cameo. Conservative and progressive ideologies clash, causing bitter rivalries to ignite on Fox News. Who will win? Both sides are petty in their attacks, like two toddlers getting into an argument over a toy truck, without remorse but without common sense, either. This conflict adds even more confetti to the book’s contents.
 
We’re All Damagedis a satirical (and all too real) glimpse into existence. It induces the reader into a sampler of emotions, ranging from depression to mirth. Prepare your literary taste buds, for this book will spring at you with a thousand flavors!



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