Monday, February 14, 2011

REVIEW: "I Hate Chicago" by Nick Vandermolen

Nick moves from small-town Michigan to Chicago to be with friends and figure out the next step of his life. When he gets there, he realizes he's been disillusioned all along, and the "metropolis" is not all that it pretends to be. In a journey of self-reflection, Nick tries to come to terms with his choices and his fears.

Part memoir, part rant on the evils of metropolis, and part research trove of pop psychology, "I Hate Chicago" reads like a self-help therapy session for author Nick Vandermolen. With short blurbs chronicling his experiences in Chicago intermixed with more extensive sections detailing the fallacies of city life (backed by actual research), it's difficult to pigeonhole this book into a category. The writing is, at times, rambling straight from the brain (replete with run-on sentences and confusing trains of thought), and at other times, consists of more structured lists delineating and debunking the myths of city life.

Starting off very slow and somewhat directionless, the actual content of the story starts to make a little more sense about 1/3 the way through. Underneath it all, it's a journey of awakening and growth, but it's sometimes difficult to see through all the maundering to the meat beneath. Add to that the serious need for another editing pass (apostrophes where they don't belong and missing in many places they do belong, lots of homophone errors- it's/its, their/there, whose/who's, etc., comma neglect and other proofreading errors), and the ride is a sometimes convoluted path to the finale.

In spite of the shortcomings, there was still some grain that kept me reading to the end. Maybe it was the vulnerability of the main character or the hope that he would find his way through this evil metropolis, or maybe it was an interest in the facts that supported the assertions of a messed-up society... whatever it was, it kept me reading all 84 pages.

2 /5 stars

Available at Nanbunan Publishing and Amazon

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