Book Review: 'Shotgun Lovesongs'

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Nickolas Butler. Thomas Dunne, 306 pp. $25.99

Hardcover-released books come to me one of two ways. Sometimes they come in the form of a galley, or ARC, in which the publisher has printed a small amount of uncorrected manuscripts with paper backs about six months before the book hits the shelves, in order to give reviewers and sales people time to read it before it's released. Other times, books come to me as finished, hardbound copies. Either way, I usually receive a book a few weeks, up to a month, before it's released.

"Shotgun Lovesongs," however, has been sitting on my bookshelf for the past six months. I've been ticking away the weeks, and the other books I had to read, before I got to this one. And with every week that past, I grew a little more intrigued.

This is a book that most people can relate to, if not enjoy. It follows four friends, told in alternating voices with each chapter, as they try to figure out where they stand with each other. They've been friends for years; they all grew up in the tiny town of Little Wing, Wis. And while some of them have stayed, some have gone on to bigger cities and better things and pop in from time to time to catch up.

Little Wing is what ties these four, in the plot and in the reader's mind, together. It's the glue that binds this entire story.

"Shotgun Lovesongs" is a story about coming home, or about sticking around even after you "have to," and realizing that in some ways it's not the place you remember growing up.

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