We're All Damaged

Matthew Norman
Andy Carter was happy. He had a solid job. He ran 5Ks for charity. He was living a nice, safe Midwestern existence. And then his wife left him for a handsome paramedic down the street.We’re All Damaged begins after Andy has lost his job, ruined his best friend’s wedding, and moved to New York City, where he lives in a tiny apartment with an angry cat named Jeter that isn’t technically his. But before long he needs to go back to Omaha to say good-bye to his dying grandfather.Back home, Andy is confronted with his past, which includes his ex, his ex’s new boyfriend, his right-wing talk-radio-host mother, his parents’ crumbling marriage, and his still-angry best friend.As if these old problems weren’t enough, Andy encounters an entirely new complication: Daisy. She has fifteen tattoos, no job, and her own difficult past. But she claims she is the only person who can help Andy be happy again, if only she weren’t hiding a huge secret that will mess things up even more. Andy Carter needs a second chance at life, and Daisy—and the person Daisy pushes Andy to become—may be his last chance to set things right.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2016-08-03

This was the surprise book of the summer for me. It somehow made it onto a recommended reading list on Amazon, and the price was right so I took a chance at it, mainly just for the change in pace. I guess the synopsis of a man forced back home, and running into all the people and things that he thought he left behind hit close enough to home to spike my interest. The story didn’t sound overly new or groundbreaking, but Matthew Norman created some characters that I found myself caring for despite my lack of initial interest.

We follow Andy Carter through some of the roughest patches, of what I guess you could call a mid-life crisis. His wife divorced him for the well-built paramedic down the road, and is currently living with him in his old house, with new garden gnomes. He moved away to New York after it happened to get away from it all, after destroying his best friend’s wedding, and becoming YouTube famous. Now he is back to Omaha, his mother has a new career, his father is engaged in a game of cat and mouse with the HOA security guard, and his beloved grandfather is withering away, expected to go at any time. Into all the turmoil, Andy bumps into Daisy, a mysterious character the keeps pushing Andy through the difficult mending of friendships, and the forgiving, forgetting steps to get over his ex-wife.

I have to say, there aren’t many books that get me laughing out loud, but this was one of them. I think part of it was the small town, Midwestern situations that pop up from everyone being inter-related struck a cord  with me, and I loved how well portrayed the awkwardness of running into those that you would rather avoid was handled. It was also very Silver Linings Playbook-esque in the way that the characters came to depend on each other while mending, but with a much bigger twist at the end of We’re All Damaged.

 

Solid 5 Stars. Would recommend it to anyone else that loved Silver Linings Playbook, or ever had to deal with a breakup in a small town where you couldn’t get away from the other person. You will find yourself laughing and crying within pages of each other, and I found hope for all the times that I was watching a girl through the bookcases, but lacked the courage to go talk to her. Perhaps next time will be different…

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