by J. Adams
Damn Yankee Press

"I wonder if people realize how shaky their identity is."

This novel depicts the life of a young man, Jack, struggling to define himself. Since one's definition is partially formed by association with others, this seems impossible for a commitment-phobic guy unable to maintain relationships. Caught in this conundrum, he leaves his steady girlfriend and heads west to explore his sexuality and everything else he doesn't understand about himself. He gets on a bus, and it is a bumpy ride for him ever after.

The author's talent shines through with his descriptions of character emotions. Adams' skill is on full display as he manages to explain how a character feels without mentioning the character's emotions, per se: "The last I'd seen of my cellphone was the day I left California when I ran over it with my bike," thought Jack. Obviously, Jack is full of angst and hits the road to escape everything, including all means of communication and connection. Another noteworthy strength in Adams' writing is his keen use of metaphors: "Sure, to try and make a clean swallow of this world you ought to have a taste for poison, but not so much you ended up choking on it," sorts Jack in his mind.

Another positive aspect of the author's novel is that it makes one think. For example, going to work is a form of prostitution if one views it as selling one's self. Several other societal norms are called into question when reading this novel. Almost any mature reader will find something to relate to in this book. The existential quest to find and define self is strong when one is young, irrespective of sexual orientation. Adams' book is entertaining, and so is Jack's motorcycle journey and all his escapades on and off the road.

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