My Year In Books: Bongwater by Michael Hornburg – Book #13

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Title: Bongwater
Author: Michael Hornburg
Series: N/A
Release Date: May 1, 1996
Publisher: Grove Press
Medium: Paperback
Finished Reading: April 6, 2014

About: “Bongwater is a novel that wavers along the solar eclipse of the American Dream, a neo-Beat, grungeoisie love story that has all the authenticity and none of the pretension of its forerunners, a book that will be for the slacker generation of the nineties what Bright Lights, Big City was for the wannabe eighties.
Young, rebellious, and vulnerable, Michael Hornburg’s unforgettable characters trace the subtle outlines of a misunderstood generation. Moving from Portland to New York City and back again, and written in precise, startlingly original prose, Bongwater is in the tradition of the Beat classics The Subterraneans and The Dharma Bums.”

Yes, the title really is Bongwater. I first picked up this book at a library book sale not knowing anything about the book at all. What drew me to it? First, the bright colors. Second, the title is insanely eye-catching. I read the back and saw that it was dirty and grungy and just what I wanted. I got this book for $.50 and knew it would be a quick read.

This book is exactly what I needed at the time of reading. I went out of town this weekend, and knew that I was going to finish reading State of Fear and I wanted something that I wouldn’t have to think about. That is exactly this book. It’s super fast-paced and doesn’t really have a point to it at all. Excellent.

We’re following two different narrators and each one is basically lost in life. These twenty-something-grunge stereotypes were exactly what I wanted to grow up to be. Listening to Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, and Bush as a youngin’ all I wanted was to be dirty, not have a care in the world, and just live paycheck-to-paycheck. (I have somewhat grown up since then and have faced the facts that this is a horrible way to live, however, that didn’t stop me from wanting a peek into this world.)

I wouldn’t say this is something that you need to pick up. Far from. This book has a laissez-faire approach to rape, drugs, and basic hygiene. Horrible. It’s a horrible book. So, when you read my rating and you want to smack me across the face, keep this in mind. I was in the right mood for this book. This isn’t something I could pick up any ol’ day and be perfectly happy with this read. Like many books, my rating is based on what I was looking for at the time. No, I wasn’t looking for the next Chaucer. I was not looking for some hard read like Faulkner. I wanted something I didn’t need to think – this is that book. It just hit me at the right time.

My rating and why: I recently watched a video on youtube about how each book should have it’s own scale. It’s own, fresh slate. It shouldn’t be compared to my a book outside its genre. It shouldn’t be compared to Animal Farm or anything at all. For what this book is, I gave it four stars. (I really feel like I’m defending myself more in this review than anything else.) It’s all subjective.

So, have you heard about this book? Does the title intrigue you? Did you already read this and wondering what I’m smoking to give this such a high rating? Let me know all in the comments below. Like. Comment. Follow. New book review to come Monday! (Hoping so, anyway.)

Until next time my fellow bibliophiles!


One thought on “My Year In Books: Bongwater by Michael Hornburg – Book #13

  1. […] Bongwater by Michael Hornburg […]


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