Review: Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

**This month we review a memoir that isn’t exactly new, but may be new to YOU!**

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Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn was published in 2004 by W. W. Norton and Co. It is now a major motion picture titled “Being Flynn.”

Set amid the dark, dingy streets of Boston where the homeless sleep on park benches or regroup in shelters to survive another day, Nick Flynn has one last opportunity to engage his father, a homeless, self-proclaimed novel writer.

From the beginning of Flynn’s memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, the reader discovers that Nick Flynn is brutally honest in sharing his life. Abandoned as a child, Flynn finally meets up with his father later in life, while Flynn is working at a homeless shelter.

Flynn recalls:  “Some part of me knew he would show up, that if I stood in one place long enough he would find me. Instructions a parent would give a child if it got lost. But these same parents may have never thought to teach us what to do if both of you are lost, and you both end up in the same place, waiting.”

Flynn’s conversational tone hooks the reader with flashbacks into his childhood, melding into real time. He uses all of the senses available, lending texture to his story: the stench of the homeless, the cries of horror, the pain and suffering endured by people living on the streets.

It’s not difficult to make some calculated guesses about Flynn’s own relationship inadequacies, his addictions to drugs and alcohol, and the hurdles he has to conquer to survive. As his narrative reveals, he begins to see these obstacles for himself.

Flynn made me angry and sad, sometimes wanting to hug him, other times wanting to shake him back into reality.  At times, the book dragged on a bit too long, and I found myself disgusted with Flynn’s inability to get up off his haunches and turn his life around.  But his ability to evoke these emotions is a sign of excellent writing.

 Who should read Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: those interested in memoir writing, reading memoirs or nonfiction stories in general.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

pat florio headshotPatricia Florio, author of My Two Mothers, completed her MFA from Wilkes University January of 2011. Her work can be found online at www.stripedpot.com a travel magazine and www.hugpages.com under the heading of So you want to cook Italian. She has published five short fiction stories. She’s married and lives in the Historic Town of Ocean Grove, New Jersey 50 steps from the ocean with her husband Ralph. She says seeing the ocean every day inspires her work. They are both planning to retire soon and spend time traveling, writing, and playing golf.
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