Sunday, August 1, 2010

Review/ Adios Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoerft

Sunday, August 1, 2010
Everybody’s wondering how can I arrange the daisies and dandelions of my life into a better bouquet?
The answer is, you can’t.
Life is random.
Life is absurd.
Life is deadly
The bouquet arranges itself.
And it doesn’t always bloom or smell good.

Adios Nirvana is a stunning and powerful story that completely took me by surprise. Everything about this book: the writing, the plot, and the characters was so incredible that there is no way I could ever relay the impact it had on me as a reader.

One of the most striking features in Adios Nirvana is Conrad Wesselhoerft’s writing.  The story is about loss, death, and grief, which in of its self is far from unique. What makes this different is Wesselhoerft’s artistic yet accessible style from a young adult’s point of view. The story reads a lot like an interior monologue that Jonathan has with himself...

My frozen fingers slip. Their panicky hands lunge for me.
But I’m too far gone.
I’m falling...falling. There’s ecstasy and freedom here. Somehow I flip onto my back, wing my arms, Jesus-like, and wait for my quilty azalea bed to cradle me. And my Mexican casserole to warm me.
I fall, fall, fall into the snowy night thinking of my brother.
Thinking of Telemachus.

Through the narration, we see and feel that Jonathon is broken, and his pure, poetic voice, raw with emotions begs to be heard. Wesselhoerft adds elements to the story such as music (I learned about the Seattle Grunge scene and guitars), poetry (Jonathon has an unusual relationship with Walt Whitman, and Charles Bukoswki), and a male aura that when combined creates a quintessential mood and tone. I love the infusion of Jonathan’s poems and those of Walt Whitman, Charles Bukowski, and Shakespeare as Jonathon wrestle with his demons.

Another aspect of this story that amazed me was Wesselhoerft’s ability to interweave the plot with his character’s. From the first chapter the reader is aware that Jonathan is standing on a precipice ready to let go. Life without his twin brother, Telly, is impossible ...

Telly was sunlight, blonde and blue. I am darkness, shades and sepia...

He was the front man, I’m the shadow man.

He still writes poetry (about his brother) but has given up on school and sleeping. He wanders through life wanting to be forgotten. His self-destructive behavior, however, does not go unnoticed. His “Thicks” (friends), principal, and English teacher all have a hand in trying to pull him from the edge. The result is a four-month plan that requires Jonathon to attend school everyday, write a dying war veteran’s memoirs, and play a song at his high school’s graduation ceremony. As Jonathan attempts to fulfill these requirements, he begins to move out of the shadows and away from the edge, and each character serves as a catalyst along the way and are all wonderfully real and endearing.

However, the character who provides the biggest spark is David. Through his interaction with David’s war story, Jonathan begins to realize that someone besides himself understands the pain of surviving. The events leading up to this realization are beautifully orchestrated and profoundly metaphoric.

Adios Nirvana left me breathless. I cannot say enough about this book.  I was lucky enough to receive an ARC copy from The Traveling Arc Tours since this book has not yet been released. I will, however, be purchasing my own copy in October. I cannot wait to put this in the hands of my students because it is a story that speaks their language perfectly.


Emidy said...

Wow, exellent review! It's great that this book affected you like it did. And I totally understand when you say that you cannot express your love enough! I love that feeling. I must read this book.

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

This is a really amazing, wonderfully detailed review. You presented the book so well and I am curious about it now. Thanks for sharing!

P.S. I awarded you on my blog.

thebookfairyhaven said...

I have to admit that I've seen this book around but have been ignoring it for goodness knows what reason. Your review on the other hand, is making me wonder whether or not I should just pick the book up!

Aleksandra said...

Great review! I'm adding it on my wishlist! Thanks for the recommendation :)

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