Thursday, March 19, 2015

Book Review: Lost Boys Symphony

The Lost Boys Symphony (2015)
Written by Mark Andrew Ferguson
352 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown

Disclosure: I received a free advance digital review copy via NetGalley in exchange for a review. The book will be on store shelves March 24.

The scene is a classic. The man runs out to the middle of the bridge as snow is falling and screams "Help me Clarence! Get me back! I don't care what happens to me! Get me back to my wife and kids!"

The above scene from Frank Capra's Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life has a distant cousin in Mark Andrew Ferguson's debut novel The Lost Boys Symphony. Henry is heartbroken after a breakup with his girlfriend Val when, while on the George Washington Bridge, two older versions of himself intervene and kidnap him. Naturally, his friend Gabe becomes increasingly concerned and contacts Val in efforts to find Henry.

I didn't care for the book as much as I thought I would, but that's not to say it was poorly written. Ferguson melds several genres together and at first, the plot strands don't quite gel. But as the novel progresses, the blend works really well. Ferguson uses sound descriptions throughout the book (after all, the title does refer to a symphony, the cover art features a guitar neck and headstock and Henry is a musician). After awhile, I began to wonder what this book would sound like if it were like a radio play with all the musical sounds and interludes.

However, I thought the novel was mostly dour and sometimes, downright bleak. Multiple characters look at the past, present and future with the proverbial glass half-empty outlook. This doesn't mean every character has to be happy-go-lucky, but the brief hints of humor were welcome relief from the overall dour tones, especially when characters lament not being able to adjust life events. Some of the drug and sexual humor was also not the right fit for me personally, though I know most wouldn't object to it.

Rating: 2/5 stars. This isn't a bad book per se and it's use of music to help tell the story is commendable, but it just wasn't a good match for me.

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