The Poor Man’s Guide to Suicide
by Andrew Armacost
Overview (from NetGalley.com): Wesley Weimer, a twice-divorced prison guard and failed father of two, realizes that his life has grown lifeless. Child support payments suck him dry and so he’ll never finish that degree. Most of his free time is spent tending to his crippled mother or else writhing through painful visits with his children.
So with Christmas right around the corner, Wesley persuades a prisoner to strangle him for ten thousand dollars — this way, at least his kids can cash in on the life insurance. The only problem is, he doesn’t have ten thousand dollars…
The Poor Man’s Guide to Suicide is a noir why-done-it that shoves a microscope into the guts of a bleak yet fascinating subculture while managing to throw a spiritual life-ring to a drowning demographic: non-custodial fathers.
Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Moonshine Cove Publishing) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My Thoughts: Have you ever gone through a rough point in your life? I don’t just mean something didn’t quite fit the perfect life plan that you have. I mean it feels like everything is going wrong and your entire life feels like it’s completely out of your control. If you’ve experienced that, did suicidal thoughts seep into your mind?
The Poor Man’s Guide to Suicide addresses these thoughts in a very direct way. Just in case you’re under the impression that this will be a light, summer read, let me just kill those thoughts now (no pun intended). The Poor Man’s Guide to Suicide is the gritty and depressing story of prison guard Wesley Weimer. Wesley is not a character that is easily relatable (unless you’re a non-custodial father).
The writing is pretty great and it’s not a wholly bad book to read. It’s just very depressing. I got to the end and couldn’t even muster my usual enthusiasm when finishing a new book. It’s written from a first-person point of view, which we all know can be irritating if it’s not done right. This one was done right, but not worth raving about (mainly due to the subject matter).
Wesley’s job as a prison guard wasn’t the happiest thing to read about, but interesting nonetheless. In fact, a few of the descriptions for why inmates were in jail to begin with, were so disturbing that I almost stopped reading. I also realized that I will never be able to rid my brain of the images these descriptions conjured without a lobotomy (which is not something I want).
It seemed as though, Wesley’s life went from bad to worse and as a consequence his mind was clouded with the thought that suicide by proxy was the only answer. The fact that he thought this (and that so many people think this way in real life) made me sad. It really drove home the point that you have to work at being happy (enjoy life’s little moments). It’s the mark of a pretty great author if they can make you feel the ultimate highs and lows while reading their book.
So, as a whole not a bad book. Unfortunately I just did not enjoy reading The Poor Man’s Guide to Suicide at all. For me, reading is almost always an enjoyable experience. Not so much with this book. It was just too gritty and came across as a real life, times are hard, slap in the face type book. On a more positive note, I plan to read more from Andrew Armacost because I was a fan of his writing style. I would not recommend The Poor Man’s Guide to Suicide, unless you genuinely like reading dark noir fiction.
1.5 out of 5 Bookmarks = It was too depressing without the addition of dark humor for me to get any real enjoyment out of reading.