Coming into the story with no preconceived ideas, only knowing that Kurt Cobain's suicide would feature prominently, I was curious and hesitant. Suicide is such an enormously verboten topic, I don't know that many of us like to poke a stick at it, much less read about it. So I took a deep breath and dove into the story and read and waited for the inevitable shoe to drop. And it did, and with the darkness of that death, came awakening.
No Alternative;, is rooted in the depression and disassociation felt by all its characters and it is through the inevitable suicide of one, that everyone around that character is transformed and infused with life.
William Dickerson's story begins in a documentary style. A staccato sharing of this time, the 1990s and this music, grunge. Throughout the book we are reminded of what was: the 1980s, what is: 1994 and what will be: 2012 and beyond. This time shifting throughout the book by our omniscient narrator was a writing technique that I felt worked and I greatly enjoyed.
The protagonist of No Alternative is Thomas Harrison and intelligent and average suburban 17 year-old who idolized Kurt Cobain. The book begins several months after Kurt Cobain's suicide, after a time of mourning, Thomas is ready to submerge himself in music and decides to start a band. The story moves forward from there and we are introduced to Thomas's younger sister Bridget, his parents and his band mates. Each character is isolated from others, living behind the mask of what they think the world would prefer them to be. It is a pleasure to read how those barriers breakdown and see these people washed clean of their perceptions.
Below you can find an excerpt from the book. I am thrilled that the excerpt provided to me focuses on Thomas's sister Bridget. Bridget is compelling, Bridge is a force and as I read on through the book, I wanted more Bridget, I wanted to pen Mr. Dickerson quick note asking him to start work on a follow-up novel of Bridget.Take a moment, read the except, and run over to Amazon and get this book. You'll thank me.