A few months ago I was contacted by author, Paul Matarelli, about reading, reviewing, and giving away a copy of his new novel, All Roads Lead West. With summer almost upon me and no new books in my stack on the bedside table, I decided to give his book a go, and now you can as well! All you have to do is comment on this post and link to the giveaway on either twitter or your facebook page to enter to win an electronic copy!
All Roads Lead West is a recently published book, December 30th 2012, by new author, Paul Matarelli. He is a current New York native, living in Brooklyn, where his main character, Jamie Hayden also resides. Warning, this book is for adults only, full of drugs, sex, and other adult adventures.
How do you know when you’re supposed to stop what you’re doing and change course? I did everything they tell you to do: I went to college, got my degree, and landed a great job. I get wined and dined in the best restaurants New York City has to offer, I do the minimum amount of work that’s required, I take long lunches, I meet celebrities, and I negotiate multi-million dollar television ad deals hung over. If I continue on this path, I will become a wealthy corporate executive…and miserable. What they don’t prepare you for – in all of the canned speeches you hear about your future – is truth about what you’re getting yourself into. The truth is you will be dealing with disgruntled bosses, office politics, vindictive colleagues, and the crippling reality that you are going to spend the best years of your life chained to a desk doing work that will ultimately leave this world worse off than when you arrived. I’m Jamie Hayden, and that’s allabout to change.
When I first read Matarelli’s summary of the book I was intrigued. After all, so many people get caught up in the “rat race” of life. So many are swallowed up by the glitz and glamour of city life, the possibility of hitting it big, and I was curious to find out how his main character, Jamie Hayden, was able to step back from this life and ultimately decide to leave it. I agreed to read his book, and was looking forward to cracking it open when my summer officially started.
I was very excited when I received the notification from Barnes and Noble: “You have received a gift from Paul Matarelli”. I very easily opened up the book on my Nook and got to it. The intro definitely set the tone for the rest of the book, with a pot clouded mind, attempting to seduce a married woman, and on going trains of thoughts that I quickly discovered is typical of Jamie.
As I rounded out the intro I was wondering what this book was really going to be about, I got no sense of future change from this sex driven character, but the last line intrigued me: “I’m Jamie Hayden and I will be your guide through this story; or as I like to call it, my path to enlightenment”. This very direct statement to the reader was a shift from the sense of viewing Jamie’s life secondhand, through his mind. The shift in writing style and statement were enough to hook me, and keep me reading. I was intrigued by this possible “enlightenment”.
The remainder of the novel follows the 27 year old account manager working in the world of television, living in New York City, struggling to decide if New York is where he needs to be. Jamie narrates his tale of trying to find himself, while spending time experimenting with drugs, bar hopping, and sleeping with a range of women. While amidst this intense partying it’s difficult to convince himself to leave it all, after all it seems like any man’s wet dream.
After the intro I expected to read about more of Jamie’s “adventures”, I fully expected more experimentation with drugs and sexcapades, but I was looking forward to the moment that would snap him out of this somewhat unrealistic haze, and into real life. Thinking the other half of the book would be about him finding himself, his true passion, and actually heading west to pursue it, I read on.
After reading 3/4 of the book I realized this was not going to delve into Jamie’s journey west, but instead focus on the final month he spends in New York before leaving. In between the pot, cocaine, and acid use mixed with sleeping around, it did hit on three major events that pushed Jamie to realize it was time for him to leave his corporate 9-5 and try to find his true passion. With A Catcher in the Rye-esk undertone, Jamie spends his last weeks partying, free from responsibility to anyone or anything other than himself, until his eventual departure.
Going into the novel I had to adjust to Matarelli’s writing style. Essentially the book is Jamie’s ongoing train of thought, and often breaks away from what is happening and into thought tangents about past memories, opinions of people, and other unrelated asides. At times it got on my nerves, I wanted to stick to what was going on without getting caught up in the ADD mind of this eccentric character. However, by doing this Matarelli is giving you a true sense of the character. You are literally entering the mind of a drug and sex driven 27 year old man, which I must admit was a hard adjustment to make as a much more settled down woman.
At times I was also a little perturbed by how easily women fell for Jamie’s seduction. I felt the women were portrayed as somewhat one sided, and a bit shallow. But again, this is the interpretation and view of Jamie, and my interpretation is probably driven by my more “settled down” self, already married for three years at age 26. Overall the book was an entertaining read, a good book to take to the beach as a nice, quick, and naughty read. Matarelli has piqued my interest with this novel, and I plan to continue to keep up with his writing career. I am very interested to see what Matarelli writes next, perhaps he will pick up where he left off and give me the enlightened and changed Jamie I so desire.
To enter this giveaway all you have to do is comment on the post and link back to the giveaway through Twitter or Facebook, please include a link to your tweet or facebook page in your comment. The winner will be randomly selected using the plugin And the Winner Is… one week from today (7/22/13). Check out a trailer for the book here and an excerpt on Amazon here!
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