I felt like this book took me ages to read, when it really only took a week. Which is an age (for me) for such a short book, but I didn't really connect well with the characters or enjoy the book that much. (At least I didn't hate it?). Such a resounding "meh" from this corner.
The book is alternating chapters of first person Cullen Witter and third person someone else (Benton/Cabot), which I've been seeing a lot of lately (for whatever reason). Unfortunately the first person chapters were really annoying. They were told stream of consciousness style, which I usually hate pretty badly, and on top of that they would switch to the author talking third person about himself with that same stream of consciousness. When one starts rambling on about ones-self and zombies, one tends to lose some readers. You know, like me.
I also found the writing to be choppy, and I felt like it lacked a lot of depth.
The actual story? Cullen's brother goes missing at the same time someone discovers the lost"Lazarus Woodpecker" in his small-hometown in Arkansas.
So he and his family and friends are dealing with the loss of Gabriel (the brother) while the town is going crazy with the eco-tourism and media hype of the woodpecker.
In another parallel-ish storyline, we see Benton, a kid living in a very evangelical christian household with an overbearing and abusive father. He goes off to be a missionary and comes home; the story is then handed off to his college roommate, Cabot, whose life, more or less intertwines with our A story and becomes involved there.
Again, I found the whole thing weak. Cullen is the broody adolescent writer, Gabriel is his younger hipster brother that is perfect and everyone adores, everyone feels like cardboard cut-outs, relationships were all shallow and meaningless, and the whole thing, I guess
is some big meaning of life exercise that bores the pee-water out of me.
The ending - I still haven’t decided if it’s real or not though I doubt it, because Cullen has switched into his imaginary-life third person voice, but in either case, I feel like it was cheap and too easily packaged.
Also: The zombie obsession /yawn. And I used to use the word asshat, but after this book, I think I’ve had enough.
I think the best part of the whole book was the future titles that Cullen kept in his diary.