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Opioid, Indiana

de Brian Allen Carr

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654359,417 (3.96)1
"Seventeen-year-old Riggle is living in rural Indiana with his uncle and uncle's girlfriend after the death of both of his parents. Now his uncle has gone missing, probably on a drug binge. It's Monday, and $800 in rent is due Friday. Riggle, who's been suspended from school, has to either find his uncle or get the money together himself. His mission exposes him to a motley group of Opioid locals--encounters by turns perplexing, harrowing, and heartening. Meanwhile, Riggle marks each day by remembering the mythology his late mother invented for him about how the days got their names. With amazing directness and insight, Carr explores what it's like to be a high school kid in in the age of Trump, a time of economic inequality, addiction, confederate flags, and mass shootings. A work of empathy and insight that pierces to the heart of our moment through an unforgettable protagonist"--… (més)
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Es mostren totes 4
Quirky above all, but I grew to love the narrator, 17-yr old Riggle as he struggled to adjust to his new circumstances. Kind of a modern-day Holden Caulfield, he is sensible, but skeptical - with good reason. His parents both died - Dad of a truck-driving accident, Mom of a grieving overdose and he was propelled sub-par care at the hands of extended relatives who valued his ward-of-the-state check more than him. After spending the majority of his life in TX, he is now in a generic smallish town in IN at the home of his addict uncle and uncle's girlfriend, Peggy. As he adjusts to the new town, new climate, new school, he is not without a few bumps in the road; he is a good kid, not an angel. The story takes place in the space of a week, in which Riggle has been suspended from school for a vape device that wasn't his, as well as his smart-ass answers when interrogated. During this week, his uncle is MIA on a bender and he is left to his own devices. Though he doesn't want to be the "catcher in the rye", he opts for something equally unlikely: 2 local town characters: Autistic Ross and the Bicycling Confederate - neither of which are viable future career options - plus the roles are already taken. Riggle spends his week half-heartedly tracking down his uncle (no good news), hanging with his friend Bennett, and securing a job as a dishwasher at a fancy local restaurant. Riggle is astute and observant, (he reads philosophy for fun) though will likely be passed over by the 'establishment' since he is such a nonconformist. Chef at his new job believes in him, but he is lacking adult support and reminisces about his mother. Embedded in the narration are origin myths his mother told him about the names of the days of the week, featuring a shadow puppet, Remote. This character becomes obsessively crucial to him in the week's span as his link with the past and a comfort in his present. He's a kid on the edge for sure, but he will find his balance by the end. Memorable quotes: "I feel there are two types of misery in this world. There's not getting what you want and being angry. And there's getting what you want and being sad." (p. 135) "...I'm not a good student but I know about causality and I've read plenty of books....I understand relatively. I understand that time is a concept we've both invented and that exists. That it changes depending on where you are. That the present is not as simple as you'd think. That memories aren't trustworthy." (p.159) Definitely fresh. ( )
  CarrieWuj | Oct 24, 2020 |
I enjoyed this short novel of a teenager searching for his missing uncle, who is also his guardian. If he doesn't find him by Friday, he and his uncle's girlfriend will be thrown out of their apartment for failure to pay the $800 rent. Trouble is, his uncle has lots of problems with drugs and has a habit of disappearing.

First the pros:

1) The setting in "Opioid" Indiana is well-drawn and the teen protagonist's descriptions of Indiana Winter weather (he grew up in South Texas) are well done
2) The first-person narrative by the 17-year old is engaging and mostly rings true.
3) The comparisons between South Texas and Indiana are quite interesting - why, for example, does one see so many Confederate flags in Indiana?
4) The book is the right length. My audiobook version was about 4 1/2 hours, and you could read it faster than that. This is the right length.

Then the cons:

1) The fables about how the days of the week got their names get a little old. Clearly, because they come from the teen's mother, who died when he was nine, they are supposed to mean something, but other than filling a few pages, I don't think they really add a lot to the story.
2) Why does the cover of the book have trailers on it? There are no trailers in the story.
3) Somehow, there isn't enough emotional depth here. Perhaps the narrator, after all he has been through, is just a stoic, but there isn't any real sense of closure at the end of the book; instead, we just feel he will continue to be a "struggler" (a nice term the author uses)

The audiobook is very well read and it is perfect for listening to in several stretches while in your car. It is not a complicated story that you will lose track of from listen to listen. ( )
  datrappert | Aug 4, 2020 |
The protagonist is finding himself, finding a job, and looking for his uncle. His view of the world and possibilities changes through the course of the novel. Although I didn't love the narrative, there are lots of high schoolers that will enjoy his quirky, cool take on life. Longlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize. ( )
  Beth.Clarke | Dec 20, 2019 |
Opioid, Indiana chronicles a week in the life of seventeen-year-old Riggle, an orphan living with his uncle in a nameless Indiana town he calls Opioid. He is not being ironic. He has just been suspended for a week thanks to a false accusation, though he doesn’t seem to mind. His uncle is missing and the rent is due on Friday. Peggy, his uncle’s girlfriend, tells him to look for the uncle so they don’t get evicted.

Thus begins his week of adventures that include getting a job, stealing a bike, and searching for his uncle all of it told with the wry wit of a natural-born storyteller. The days of the week are marked by his recounting his mother’s stories of how the days of the week. Her stories are original and unorthodox.

I loved Opioid, Indiana and didn’t want it to end. I want to hear more from Riggle. This kid has a philosophical frame of mind and likes to speculate and ponder the imponderables. He also is hilarious in describing Texas, his home state, and Indiana, his new state, one he declares is “mean” with cold. Riggle has experienced more than his share of loss, his father and mother are both dead and his former guardians shipped him off to Indiana, but he faces what is hard with equanimity and humor. Sometimes the humor is hiding the pain, but Riggle is not afraid to admit his pain. He just won’t live there.

Opioid, Indiana will be published on September 17th. I received an e-galley from the publisher through Edelweiss.

Opioid, Indiana at Soho Press
Brian Allen Carr on GoodReads
https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2019/09/04/9781641290784/ ( )
  Tonstant.Weader | Sep 4, 2019 |
Es mostren totes 4
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"Seventeen-year-old Riggle is living in rural Indiana with his uncle and uncle's girlfriend after the death of both of his parents. Now his uncle has gone missing, probably on a drug binge. It's Monday, and $800 in rent is due Friday. Riggle, who's been suspended from school, has to either find his uncle or get the money together himself. His mission exposes him to a motley group of Opioid locals--encounters by turns perplexing, harrowing, and heartening. Meanwhile, Riggle marks each day by remembering the mythology his late mother invented for him about how the days got their names. With amazing directness and insight, Carr explores what it's like to be a high school kid in in the age of Trump, a time of economic inequality, addiction, confederate flags, and mass shootings. A work of empathy and insight that pierces to the heart of our moment through an unforgettable protagonist"--

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