It is the summer. Marcus is hanging out with his friends, drinking, doing lots of drugs, lusting after his brother’s new girlfriend. You know, the usual. What makes this summer different is it’s the first summer after his father took off. Right now its just him, his mom, and his brother. It isn’t actually that bad – until they get some disturbing news about their father. The next thing Marcus knows his brother and him are on a road trip to pay a surprise visit to his dad along with a couple of friends and a gun in the glove compartment.
This is a story about abuse and the way that it infects and affects the family members involved. Within a few pages of the story you know that Marcus’s father beat his younger brother Enrique. You know that the father is gone and that everyone in the household is still dealing with the aftermath. Marcus is dealing with feelings of guilt and impotence. Enrique is on anti-depressants and is increasingly angry. The mother is loving, but clued out. The road trip is the boy’s idea of a solution, an end all to their situation if you will.
There are some extremely crude references to a boy’s mother which seemed completely gratuitous. On the second read it didn’t bother me as much and didn’t seem so unnecessarily crude anymore (although, don't get me wrong, it was still raunchy). The author doesn’t use any quotation marks which lends the book a dreamy surreal feeling. An interesting choice for a book that deals with such stark issues of drugs and abuse.
Los Angeles Times