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Flash: A Novel

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Flash: A Novel

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Flash: A Novel Review by Joe Tessone, GST
Being in a mostly monogamous relationship with non-fiction, I was reluctant to pick up a book which blatantly read "A Novel" on the cover, but you know what they say... Don't judge a book. I didn't heed that that old warning since it's cover is rather appealing, despite my general caution around fiction. In any event, I didn't know what I was getting myself into, but once I was in, I couldn't get out. As a punk rocker, Wobbly, archivist, and someone with little time to read, I feel like this book was written with me in mind. Almost pocket size and a quick read, it ends in just under 200 action packed pages.

With great stories of Dead Kennedy's shows in the 80's and frantic searches through dusty library archives and long lost shoeboxes, Jack Wilson is quite the character. A seemingly lonely person, he struggles to find some common ground with his mostly estranged family and romantic partners. Through his research of an old IWW member, Jack begins to find himself while uncovering the story of a Wobbly almost lost to history. The reader can see Jack drawing parallels between [the Wobbly] Bobby Flash's life and his own. In the end, the pieces of the puzzle all make sense in a witty, emotional, and thought provoking way.

When it came right down to it, the drops of non-fiction on almost every page kept me reading the most. It has a lot of references to real events and people, such as the Free Speech Fights and Emma Goldman. Expect to learn something when reading Flash, even it is is a little dramatized.

My recommendation is to take this book with you on a short trip. With the character's constant traveling, its really easy to fall deep into this one while driving in a warm car or on an airplane. If you've ever been to the western United States, listened to the band X, done a research project, have had a summer fling, or a terrible break up, this book is for you. (Posted on 8/11/2011)

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