That said, I'm actually very glad that I'd committed to the tour, because I'm glad I stuck it out and finished the book. It ended up being very intriguing and very touching.
This book is written in the first person. It is a narrative by a boy about his mother. He starts with getting the news that she's had an aneurysm and getting on a plane with his sister. By the time they got there, she was already gone. The narrative is very stream-of-consciousness. It's almost as though he's rambling about his mom. One thought or memory reminds him of something else so he jumps to that. We get a lot of his own thoughts about things--and they tend to be very negative. Despite all the jumping around, it's not confusing, as you might think. The descriptions of his memories are all very vivid and clear, just not linear.
As for his negativity, it becomes clear about a third of the way through the book that, especially as a teenager, this boy was mentally unstable. He briefly touches on a few meltdowns, a few hospital stays. He even says he was a teenager who contemplated the whole Columbine thing, and he credits his mother's constant love and understanding with single-handedly keeping him from actually doing it. The instant mental illness entered the picture, he became a fascinating character study to me.
Is this book for everyone? No. As I said, it's very different at first. Plus, being a troubled, rebellious teen gives rise to plenty of cussing and some sex talk. I wouldn't give this book an R rating, but expect a solid PG-13, hovering toward R.
Overall I ended up enjoying this book. It was a tribute to his mother, not as the world saw her and not even necessarily as she really was, but as HE, her troubled son, saw her and loved her. While he doesn't by far go into every part of who she was, and that may leave you wanting more, it ends up being a profound, touching tribute to a woman by the only person who knew her exactly like he did.