Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite
Binge Until Tragedy by Ben D'Alessio is a novel that explores social issues and one man’s journey to come to terms with a gnawing sensation he feels in the pit of his stomach, and his vices, a story with powerful psychological overtones. Joel Lupo lost his childhood friend to suicide and, till now, he hasn’t completely reconciled with the tragedy. Just after college, he buys a plane ticket — a one-way ticket for that matter — to France where he dreams of liquor, of beautiful French girls, and drugs, in the company of his best friends, Riley and Kev. Could life be reduced to partying and the pursuit of the pleasures of the flesh? Joel would have loved to think so, but for another problem he has, one that is more dangerous than the drugs and the prostitutes of Europe: it is the thing growing in his mind, the voice that responds to his thoughts and that controls his moods in inscrutable ways? Read on to discover what becomes of his destiny.
Ben D'Alessio’s novel explores many themes that are beautifully woven into the story, including love and friendship, politics, the pursuit of pleasure, and addiction. At times the story reads like a coming-of-age. I enjoyed the way the author explores the mental climates and the mindscapes of the protagonist, a story with a powerful psychological conflict. The characters are well-developed and, from the start, the reader is intrigued by the conversation taking place in the protagonist’s mind, the voice that speaks to him. Binge Until Tragedy features a well-paced plot, a cast of memorable characters, and great writing. The story is very entertaining as it showcases contemporary European culture.