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Good for Nothing Paperback – February 6, 2014
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"Brandon Graham is a very funny, painfully observant, no-holds-barred American writer. In Good for Nothing he shows us America now: out of work, out of shape, slightly suicidal but retaining a sharp sense of the absurd. This is a brilliant book. When times are really horrible it's good to be able to laugh (especially at ourselves)." Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveller's Wife "[T]his is a very, very funny book. [It] could be the lovechild of Bill Bryson and Martin Amis. And it's peppered with the kind of slick slapstick situation comedy that made the Hangover movies such big hits. But at its heart is a very serious point. It is about the tsunami of destruction that has hit Middle America since the financial crisis." Daily Mail
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Early Praise for Good For Nothing from Audrey Niffenegger, Author of The Time Traveler's Wife:
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Brandon Graham's début novel is a bitterly funny story. Initially, Flip Mellis' acceptance of failure is a bit too casual. He's estranged from his wife and children, disgusted by his own body, and holds no motivation for a better life. But a deeply-flawed-Flip is portrayed to us through Graham, who provides an exceptionally insightful approach, helping our character beyond the oddly relate-able to one we empathize with, even in the face of self-sabotage.
Set in an intentionally generic middle-America, Good For Nothing addresses a too-familiar turmoil. Financial crisis has led to an unhidden misery in the day to day lives of work-a-day (or out-of-work) America. Alongside this harsh reality Graham's supreme wit and turn of phrase had me laughing through tears. From one festive neighbor at Lakeside to an extremely odd run in with a Rubenesque store clerk, every character has their quip.
This darkly uplifting turn of events refused to be put down. The first pages prove Graham to have an uncanny knack for humorously reminding the reader it could be worse. And as we begin to sympathize with a hopeless Flip, the foolishness of his actions reminds us brilliantly, it's not what happens to us, it's how we react. Will Flip's reactions serve simply as a continuity of tantrum toward a prolonged suicide? Or will he take the time to find personal redemption in the rubble of his life? Good For Nothing Pick one up before you let yourself down. You will not be disappointed.
And to Graham: we look forward to more.
I thought about the ending for several days after I finished the book. I am still contemplating whether the very end was real or a fantasy of thought. Fantastic!
Good for Nothing is easy to read, set in conversational tone. I looked forward to every chance I had of getting comfortable and reading it. I wish I knew Flip personally, thinking as most probably do that maybe I could help. I am looking forward to Graham's next book!