Sunday, March 13, 2011

Review: Angry Young Man (Lynch)

AUTHOR: Chris Lynch
PAGES: 167
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster
PUBLICATION DATE: February 8, 2011
GENRE: Realistic fiction

MY RATING: Recommended, although I am personally going to have a hard time "selling" it.
SUMMARY: Robert is a community college student who works part-time. He plays on a soccer team and has a steady girlfriend. His brother Xan, on the other hand, is insecure, overly-sensitive and easily-led. He is a jobless high school dropout who has no friends, no girlfriend, and little ambition. Life is hard for both brothers and their mother, a waitress and single parent struggling to make ends meet. When Xan begins hanging out with a radical group of local misfits, Robert worries about Xan’s behavior and how far Xan will go for the group.

WHAT I LIKED: This book does have a positive message about turning your life around, even after you have royally messed up. I like how close the brothers are, even though they are quite competitive and Robert does not initially seem to realize how much his teasing affects Xan. Xan and Robert are well-drawn characters that evoke reader sympathy.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: A slice of life story about a family in hard times, this short novel just didn’t move me the way it should have. Nothing much really happens. Xan definitely gets in over his head with the radical group, but aside from an arrest for a minor crime, he really suffers no major consequences. I am still scratching my head over which brother truly is the “Angry Young Man.” Considering Xan’s deep-rooted emotional problems, the book’s ending seems trite and way too easy. A dark and explosive front cover and strong central characters are barely enough to sustain the slow-moving plot. While I do think some reluctant readers may relate to the brothers and their declining neighborhood, for me, Angry Young Man is not something I’ll really remember a month from now.    


  • LANGUAGE--mild
  • SEXUALITY--mild--a reference to masturbation; one character talks about wanting to have sex; the mother has multiple partners, but nothing is described
  • VIOLENCE--a bomb detonates; someone is poisoned; some vandalism, no deaths

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We have it. The cover attracts some attention, but I don't recommend it as much as I do other books.