This is the type of book where it's either your cup of tea, or it isn't. I personally enjoyed this book very much, from the writing, to the characters, I thought it was really interesting.
The main complaint with this book is that it dragged on and didn't go anywhere, and I can understand why. The purpose of this story is to tell the life of Zebulon Finch, as narrated by Zebulon himself. It takes you from his childhood, to when he ran away from home, to him becoming a gangster and so on.
I enjoyed the writing of the novel, as well as the pace. With the exception of Zebulon getting extremely horny every once in a while at the sight of an attractive girl, there wasn't any purple prose, there was enough to paint a picture and keep things interesting. Zebulon's narration of his life was witty and honest, he didn't sugarcoat anything, even if it meant showing him in a bad light.
Every person that Zebulon meets serves a purpose in shaping in his character, and all of these people come back to him throughout his life and change it again. Every character in the story is different, has different personalities and stands out, I was actually able to remember them throughout the story. Sometimes these characters turned out to be exactly how you thought they would be, and sometimes they were a surprise and turned out to be someone completely different.
I liked the fact that the story actually acknowledges that Zebulon breaks every law of science and actually makes an attempt to discover as to how Zebulon is still functioning even though he is dead. The story doesn't ignore the fact that Zebulon's body is decaying because he is dead, how the sun and hot lights affect him, how he looks compared to everyone else.
Not every character that is introduced in the story is meant to be liked, in fact, most of them are terrible people, and yet, I didn't find myself hating them the same way that I have a burning hatred for two dimensional characters in other novels. You could understand them, for example, the Barker, he was a terrible man, but it was hard to hate him. He was struggling to survive, just like everyone else was, he did what he had to in order to survive. Zebulon himself isn't a very likeable person to begin with, and yet throughout the story, I didn't find myself necessarily liking him, but I could understand him as well as why he did the things that he did. He tried to right his wrongs throughout the novel, he tried to become a better person despite the fact that he failed continually. Every character in this book changed in some way, whether it was for the better or for the worse, they changed, and personally, I felt the character arcs were perfect.
The situations that Zebulon found himself in were especially interesting, so interesting that I had to plan time to read this book because once I started I couldn't stop reading. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but I would recommend giving it a shot just to see if you're interested.