Congratulations on Everythingby Nathan Whitlock is a read I saw similar to an updated Cheers. A bar, the Ice Shack, is the heart of the story and those who work and drink in it are featured. The tale focused on Jeremy the bar’s good guy owner and Charlene one of the waitresses with an army of side characters filling in the gaps. While touted as humorous, the book seemed more of a cautionary tale to me, of what happens when you fill your sense of self with a thing or an idea and not with people.
The plot of Congratulations on Everything is interesting but not deep. A bar owner who wants to prove that he is a good guy at the heart of everything. The writing of Nathan Whitlock was good, but he tended to ramble a bit in his narrations and I would get lost sometimes in the dense barrage. The pacing had some issues as time sometimes skipped forward when it felt like the section before had not been finished. The world built was sparse but worked. Almost the entire book revolved around the bar, so that was the only thing that really needed to be showcased. This was not an emotion heavy book. The characters created their own issues and while I could feel for them, I never felt with them. Charlene as a secondary min character never clicked with me, and I think if Jeremy had been the primary focus I would have enjoyed it more.
While Congratulations on Everything is categorized as a dark humor book on Amazon and in the synopsis it states that it is a dark and comic novel, I found Nathan Whitlock’s tale to be more sad than funny. Jeremy is a character that I sympathized with and understood, however he was at the root of all of his own issues. His need to be seen as successful and a good ole boy hampered everything he did. I understand that was the heart of the message, but I just can’t click with a read where there is no attempt at character growth. I did enjoy a good portion of Whitlock’s writing, I just think the subject matter hampered my enthusiasm.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.