We’re All Damaged, Matthew Norman

We're all damaged.

*Spoiler Alert* We’re All Damaged was my Kindle First choice of the month.  I loved it- the flow of the story and play between characters.  Andy Carter may just be one of my favorite antiheroes.  He is a bit pathetic, sad… but sarcastic.  He is a man trying to find his way again while still stuck in the past… but he knows he is, and maybe being able to see himself clearly is its own power.

                A year ago, Andy’s life fell apart.  His wife ended their marriage for a paramedic down the road, he lost his job, and then he ruined his best friend’s wedding reception.  Spiraling out of control, he does the only thing logical thing- end all social media and run like hell.  Packing up his 401(k) he goes to New York to be a bartender (His super conservative radio talk show mother is so very proud). 

                Coming back to Omaha for a family emergency, Andy may not be done self-destructing.   There is a questionable moment involving a back yard, a Mr. Frosty and a garden gnome.  For the most part though, he wants to be there for his grandfather whom he genuinely loves.  Besides, there’s so much drama happening already that it seems sleazy to add more.  For start, his mother Nancy has made herself very unpopular with a group called The Glitter Mafia.  There are often questionable things peppering her lawn- two ken dolls holding hands, dildos and the odd sex toy.  Dad’s having a full blown crisis- motorcycle and paintballing squirrels (who are, oddly, dressed up) that steal the bird food.  He is also having an affair (I don’t count this as part of the crisis because apparently they did love one another.) Andy’s brother Jim is… well Jim’s just a jerk and doesn’t help or hurt matters really.  Then there’s Don Johnson who considers himself the neighborhood security and law enforcement.  He and Andy’s dad get into it about the motorcycle which gets booted to ridiculous results. 

                Through all this Andy meets Daisy, who claims to be a friend of Grandpa Henry’s.  She decides that, for love of Henry, she is going to “fix” his grandson.  While going on different outings, Daisy gets Andy to talk about everything, to really open up.  You can see real progress.  Granted, there are still some horrible things that happen, no doubt sounding good at the time.    When secrets begin to creep out, no one is safe and it seems we were all a bit damaged. 

                That’s what I got out of this book anyway.  Everyone was damaged differently- a grandfather missing his wife so terribly that he finds a young girl that looks just like her and has to talk to her.  A man that can’t get over his ex, to the detriment of his whole world.  A woman that will never, ever be happy-leaving one broken heart after another.  A gay man that just wants to be accepted and have right-exactly where he is.   It’s a sad and stunning thought.  And yet, they all live and breathe and fight.  They all choose the best way forward.  We leave our antihero in what could be a good starting-over point with a pet and the potential for love.  I like that.

This book comes out 6-01-2016.  Be on the Look out- or go to Kindle First.  You can pick one of six eBooks for $1.99 and get it before the release date.

On the adult content scale, I have to give it an eight.  There is some adult content (much of it thanks to The Glitter Mafia), cursing, drinking and all around bad decisions.


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