Bizzaro Book Review: Blackburn by Bradley Denton

There’s a moment. One day you look up and you see the days marching out in front of you, thousands upon thousands of them, stretching off into the distance and your heart breaks. Not because they’re bad days, but because they’re empty pointless things, copies of copies of copies. That’s the moment that you realize you’re going to get up, go to work, come home again, repeat ad infinitum, ad naseum until you die. In that moment you want to run, as far and as fast as you can. But you don’t. Because there are people depending on you. So you swallow the bile rising in your throat and you do it again.

But you need an escape, even it its only in your head and if you’re lucky you have Blackburn. Lets be clear right up front. Blackburn is not a “good” story. Not in the moral sense. But in a way, even though it’s fiction, its a true story. At least it is to me.

Maybe you’re not like this. Maybe there haven’t been times when you’ve been angry enough to wish someone dead, to visualize how it would happen in all of its gory satisfying violence. If so Blackburn is not the book for you.

Blackburn tells the tale of Johhny Blackburn a boy who becomes a man who decides he simply isn’t going to take it anymore. He breaks free from the cage society has constructed for him and lives a different kind of life, a life where injustices are righted quickly and messily, hopping from place to place, state to state, identity to identity without effort and without fear.

Blackburn is a killer, but he is more than that. He is a man who after being pushed to the edge by life jumped and found he could fly. And he is a lesson to those of us who might dream what it would be like to live such a life.

Because there is a moment. A moment when we realized that we are the thing we hate, that the cage we so wish to escape is one we have built for ourselves around the edges of our souls.

The final moral of Blackburn is that sooner or later we’re all hypocrites. Sooner or later we all become the thing we hate.

Should you read Blackburn? That depends. If your looking for a story with easy answers, a story where good triumphs over evil, a story where the truth is clear and understandable then the answer is no. But if you’ve come to that moment, the moment where you realize that life is a dark and cruel and disappointing place and there’s not a thing you can do about it. If you’ve given up looking for answers because you’ve realized you never really knew the questions to behind with: then perhaps Blackburn is the book for you.

3 responses to “Bizzaro Book Review: Blackburn by Bradley Denton

  1. So… I get the feeling it’s a little different than Something Borrowed 😉 It definitely sounds interesting!

    • Something Borrowed? Is that another Bradley Denton book? I’ve only read this one and Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganeymede (a much more positive narrative and really fun story you might like to check out.)
      Of course I could Google it, but I decided to ask you and wait for a reply instead. Efficiency is overrated.

  2. Haha… no. It’s an Emily Giffin book. I think you would characterize it as a Romantic Comedy. They ended up making a movie based on the book. It’s a light, fluffy, funny read. I’m not sure they’ll let you check it out of the library if you have a penis. Just kidding. But probably.

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