Out on the Drink is a unique tale of addiction, adventure, and survival

Reviewed for Netgalley

If you can ignore the many, many typos, misspellings, missing words, and misused words, Bill Bunn’s Out on the Drink is an engaging, unique tale which follows young alcoholic Sean on his biggest, dumbest blunder yet. In the middle of Newfoundland snow storm, he accepts a dare to climb aboard an abandoned cruise ship, where he promptly passes out and awakens much later to find that the ship has torn aware from its moorings and is adrift on the ocean.

Sean must learn not only how to live without alcohol, but how to live alone on a decrepit ship with little water and food that expired almost three years prior to his misadventure. His very survival depends on it.

Bunn did a nice job with the pacing of the story. Sean’s stint aboard the Lyubov Orlova slows the momentum a bit, but I think that was intentional to show how long Sean is stuck aboard the cruise ship and how lonely he is during this time. The pace definitely picks up again when company comes aboard.

The story is original and engaging. Despite Sean’s many stupid mistakes, I found myself hoping he and his ship-imposed sobriety would both survive. I recommend this book despite the many errors.


Lost Boy isn’t your childhood Peter Pan

32828538On the worst night of Jamie’s young life, he leaves behind a devastating loss and follows a strange, mysterious boy into a tunnel under a tree and arrives in a magical, strange land where boys never grow up. Jamie and Peter spend their days having great adventures, fighting pirates, and swimming with mermaids. Everything from Jamie’s world before Peter and his island is forgotten, except for the nightmare that haunts him every night and the song he sings but doesn’t remember how he knows it. Despite those things, it’s a glorious, wonderful life and eventually other boys are brought to the island to share in eternal boyhood.

Except it isn’t eternal and as the decades pass and more boys die at the hands of pirates, crocodiles, and the Many-Eyed, Jamie begins to realize that living on the island with Peter is far from paradise, and Peter isn’t at all the wonderful boy Jamie thought he was.

Christina Henry takes a classic child’s tale of magic and enchantment and turns it into a horror story full of blood, gore, murder, and deception. Lost Boy is Peter Pan, a dark and twisted Peter Pan, from the point of view of a young Captain Hook.

Henry’s take on Neverland and its inhabitants is sinister and far more violent than J.M. Barrie’s original tale ever was. There is bloodshed galore, and Peter Pan isn’t the innocent, fun-seeking boy that we readers grew up with. In Henry’s Neverland, he is a cunning, deceptive, manipulative narcissist who values himself above all others. As Jamie tells us from the very beginning, “Peter will say I’m a villain, that I wronged him, that I never was his friend. But I told you already. Peter lies. This is what really happened.”

Meet the boy who will grow up to be Captain James Hook and immerse yourself in the loss, grief, and betrayal that drove him to a life of piracy and vengeance. Delightful in its uniqueness and gripping in its mystery and violence, Lost Boy is a thrilling tale that can’t be reconciled with the Peter Pan of childhood. Henry’s Neverland is a whole new world where nothing is as it seems, and boys can become men when they trade belief for truth.