This book is a mix of emotions, mainly sad ones. It gives you an empathetic glimpse of the author’s life from his childhood days. All the difficulties and abuse he faces from home seem to have contributed significantly to the troublesome transition he had into adulthood. With not parental love or mentorship, the author ended up making the most irrational decisions in life. The book takes us through the journey of one wrong choice to another. There are many relevant themes to pick out from this book and the author’s story.

Although the story is off to a rough start, there is a kind of assurance given by the preliminary page that introduces the author as an award-winning chef; a slight gesture that the pastures get greener in the end. This story is neutral and there is something for everyone in society to pick from it regardless of age, gender or physical ability. The author’s life has been brought out to show everything that people shouldn’t do in their lives. It starts with the reckless upbringing he endures and the challenges of living with a mentally ill mother. The neglect he faces leads him to take a path of his own. Every parent including those with mental illness get their wake up call from these incidences. Unfortunately, the whole story is based on true occurrences of the author’s life; more like an autobiography.

The books structure makes it easy to maneuver through it. There is no particular strategy for the division of chapters, and each chapter is labelled with consecutive numbers. However, there is such an easy flow of events from one phase of the author’s life to another that the reader rarely notices they entered a new chapter. Although the setting of the author’s life is nothing out of the ordinary, the events surrounding his lifestyle bring out all the fascination there is to experience. There are obviously undocumented events of his life. Despite that, a reader can hardly notice that because of the connection of events from different stages of his life. It’s a wonder how he documented all these crazy timelines of his life in less than a hundred pages. The reasonably-sized number of pages make it more appealing to majority of people because the read is neither too long nor too short.

Some interesting techniques to note with the book are the use of vivid description and the mix of themes into one another. Wallace demonstrates such expertise with his descriptions, making it easy for the reader to develop an imagery of his scenarios. Themes intermarry into each other somehow, sparking a mixture of emotions. For instance, the author could have been undergoing a sorrowful phase and gives a taste of the joy and recklessness of his decisions to it. An incident like being stranded and going on a drinking spree. Summarily, the simplicity of this story makes it a worthwhile read.

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