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review 2014-10-22 02:10
Cry Father by Benjamin Whitmer

51lO0F+37GL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Benjamin Whitmer’s Cry Father is part outlaw, part longing and part philosophy. All of it packaged in an interesting story with compelling characters.


Patterson has made plenty of poor choices in his life. His son is dead, and Patterson spends the present missing his boy, wishing he would have been a better father in the time he had. Some of the most touching scenes in the novel are the letters Patterson writes to Justin, his dead son. Not only is Patterson prone to making bad choices, he cannot stop himself from helping those in need. This proves to be a lethal blend.


Most of the bad choices Patterson makes in Cry Father involve his addiction to his friendship with Junior, a younger man. Compared to Junior, Patterson seems wise and mature. That being said, no matter how bad Junior makes life for himself, the reader stays with him, largely because Junior expresses so much love for his young daughter. That and he exhibits an uncommon loyalty to Patterson.


These two men burn down their lives: drugs, cartels, violence, and although their loyalty to each other is self-destructive, it is also quite compelling. The story explores longing: the longing for a father, for a son, for a companion. It is about men needing other men, and how amiss those relationships easily become. In this sense, it is a surprisingly sensitive story.


Throughout the novel, runs a critique of contemporary society. A philosophy that states that life is better off the grid. A philosophy that values independence, self-reliance and that holds American systems of power and authority in contempt. BenjaminWhitmer


Both Junior and Patterson carry a handgun in the caliber of .45 ACP. Patterson, being much older, carries a 1911. The younger, more impulsive Junior, a Glock. In Cry Father guns function as metaphors for the men who wield them. The 1911, an older firearm design, is equipped with both a grip and a thumb safety. Although Patterson is always armed, always ready, he is cautious and carries with him an old-school set of values. A Glock has no external safeties, and because of this, like Junior, the gun is quickly put to violence. There is a lesser character in the story: a coward, Chase carries a tiny mouse gun chambered in .380 ACP, a diminutive caliber compared to the .45. Whitmer draws no attention to this structure; it's there for those who see it.


At the end of the story, there is no good guy. No hero. Cry Father is about men and their longing, the increasing distances they put between themselves and what they truly desire.

Source: www.benjamindancer.com/Blog/2014/10/22/cry-father-benjamin-whitmer
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review 2014-07-13 13:24
Cry Father
Cry Father - Benjamin Whitmer

Patterson Wells is a tree clearer who has never gotten over the death of his son and writes letters to him and lives a life of self destruction. He meets Junior Bascom, a drug runner traveling down a similar path. Will they be one another's salvation or ticket to the grave?

I got this from Netgalley. It took the publisher almost five months to approve my request and the ARC is full of spaces inside words and weird characters at the beginning of some sentences, making some paragraphs hard to read. It was still worth it.

I loved Ben Whitmer's Pike a couple years ago and was foaming at the mouth for his next novel. Cry Father did not disappoint.

Cry Father is a tale of fathers and sons. It's also a tale of brutal violence and drug and alcohol abuse. It reminded me of James Crumley's The Last Good Kiss, only without the mystery element, unless you consider wondering if Patterson and/or Junior are going to OD in it.

There are two threads in this book that periodically intersect. Patterson works as much as he can and drinks and drugs away the time he has left, trying to forget his dead son, all the while trying to avoid his ex-wife, who wants Patterson to take part in a malpractice lawsuit against the doctor who treated her son. Junior runs drugs all over the southwest and has some a young daughter living with his girlfriend. He also hates his father with a cold passion and blames him for all the problems of the world.

There's more drunken misadventures in this book than there is action but the action is brutal when it happens. If I learned one thing from this book, it's don't turn your back on a tweaker. Patterson went through so much alcohol and cocaine in this book that I felt a little nauseous and hungover while reading it. As Patterson's substance abuse gets worse and he hangs out with Junior more, things gradually come completely unglued.

Whitmer's writing is masterful. The letters Patterson writes to his dead son are touching and make the harsh, unblinking depictions of violence and drug abuse that much more powerful. The quality of the writing, coupled with the trainwreck appeal of Patterson and Junior had me reading long into the night to finish it.

That's about all I want to say. Unless you only read shitty books, Cry Father should not be missed. Five out of five stars. 

Kids, don't do drugs!

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text 2014-07-12 14:09
Reading progress update: I've read 26%.
Cry Father - Benjamin Whitmer

The story is really good, full of redneckery most foul, but the ARC is full of extra spaces and funky characters.  I won't be requesting another ARC from this publisher since between the formatting issues and the four months of waiting for my request to get approved, they aren't really serious about getting the word out about their books.

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text 2014-07-11 14:53
Finally got approved for this on Netgalley!
Cry Father - Benjamin Whitmer

It only took four months.

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review 2013-05-28 00:00
Satan Is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers
Satan is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers - Charlie Louvin,Benjamin Whitmer Oh hey this book was really really good. More later.
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