Fiction - Literary
346 Pages
Reviewed on 06/16/2018
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

Growth: A Novel by AJ Smith is a gripping tale that explores the theme of personal growth and transformation. Meet Bburke, a drunk who had his first beer at twelve. Then at fifteen, he starts buying beer because he is 6'2. For ten years, as an adult, he has consumed 50 beers a week. After the divorce from his wife, Jane, he continues to drink uncontrollably. Aside from his beer, he does landscaping jobs and nightly lawn mowing throughout Central New Jersey. But his life is without meaning and he thinks he’s a failure and needs to do something to turn his life around. Follow him on a literary journey that involves love to witness how his perception changes. But can he overcome his addiction and find purpose? That’s for the reader to find out.

This is a gorgeous offering for fans of literary fiction, a character-driven story that brilliantly explores the psychology of an addict. Told in a voice that is arresting, very compelling, this book will have you glued to your seat until you turn the last page. It is interesting to notice the creativity in narrative style. At times, the protagonist tells his story; at times, other voices tell the story. But the first person narrative, done from Bburke's perspective, is hilarious, laced with wit and fine humor. The prose is wonderful and the witticism, coupled with the evocative narrative style, gives the story a rare beauty. AJ Smith knows how to make readers care about the characters and readers will find themselves liking the protagonist, in spite of his miserable condition. The literary allusions and the place of art in our lives are just so beautifully done. You’ll laugh throughout the book and you’ll gain insight into the mind of a drunk. It’s real; it’s absorbingly delightful.