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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
When I picked up this novel, I was looking for a fun read, but little did I know it would turn out to be this hilarious. In A Portrait of the Entrepreneur as a Young Man by Bob Epstein, young entrepreneur Tad Avaris does anything avoid the Vietnam draft. It is 1972, and while he is confident that the physical exams in Manhattan can stop him from getting drafted, everything changes suddenly and dramatically. Tad is kidnapped by a Vietnam War veteran, someone with a huge grudge. Now Tad's girlfriend makes a plan to rescue him. What lies ahead is a hilarious adventure when things go awry in her amateur plan.
The story begins with a terrific description of the protagonist, and it defines the setting in which the story takes place. I immediately knew that Tad Avaris would be trouble from the beginning of the narrative. From the start, the reader is introduced to the fact that the protagonist is brought up in wealth, and this sets the premise for a strong conflict. Can he afford to leave his comfortable life for the army? No, he isn't cut out for it. Bob Epstein has a gift for character and humor, creating scenes that are realistic and a character with a lot to lose should he get drafted. The conflict is strong, especially the internal conflict taking place in the mind of the protagonist. The plot is constructed to keep readers curious about what happens to the protagonist. The strength of this narrative lies in its humor. The reader is drawn into the lifestyle of the protagonist right away. This is an exceptional story that offers great delight to fans of humor and adventure.