Matthew Quick's new novel - The Reason You're Alive.
David Granger is a sixty eight year old Vietnam vet. He's also a father, a grandfather, a widower, a businessman, a friend, an enemy and a man with a brain tumor. The book opens with Granger recovering in hospital from surgery, seemingly reporting to a 'government representative' about his past. Specifically about a man he calls Clayton Fire Bear. "But I can't tell you everything about Fire Bear before I put it all in context." But there's also another driving force behind his staying alive... his son and granddaughter ...."My old man's dying words echoed in my head once more. It was clear that I had one last mission. And I always, always, always complete my mission." And so begins David Granger's tale.....
I must admit I was hesitant when I first started reading The Reason You're Alive. Granger is a 'tell it like I see it' narrator. His language is not politically correct or are some of his viewpoints. I continued though, as I was curious as to where Quick would take Granger's life. And in the end, I was so very glad I did - by the last few chapters I had tears in my eyes. (and a few other times as well) Yup, that much of a turnaround. I think we've all met a David Granger - gruff words and exteriors hide the fortitude, resolve, pain, stoicism and more behind the front presented to the world.
The foreshadowing at the end of many chapters had me reading 'just another chapter' until I finished all 240 pages in a morning. I enjoyed the dark humour peppered throughout. Quick's depiction of a vet with PTSD is eye opening, frightening and truly saddening. But the book itself also funny, redemptive and heartwarming.
As with previous Quick books, there are some plot pieces that seemed a little far fetched - but that's the type of book and characters I have come to expect and enjoy from Quick. The Reason You're Alive is clever, serendipitous and so very good. If you enjoyed The Silver Linings Playbook, this is a book you'll enjoy as well. (And it is being developed for film as well.) Read an excerpt of The Reason You're Alive.
You can connect with Matthew Quick on his website and follow him on Twitter.