Nuns with Shotguns

The World is My Ashtray Vol 2

Non-Fiction - Memoir
273 Pages
Reviewed on 11/02/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Nuns with Shotguns: The World is My Ashtray Vol 2 is a work of non-fiction in the memoir, autobiographical writing, and slice-of-life subgenres. It is best suited to mature adult readers owing to explicit content related to sex and drug use, as well as the use of explicit language throughout. Penned by author P. H. Mountain, we find ourselves immersed once more in a raw, uncensored, and often hilarious continuation of Paul's life adventures. Set in the Rocky Mountain ghost town of Eldora, this volume follows the author and his friend Lonnie as they escape to this serene location to unwind after a chaotic year in Boulder, Colorado. The reader accompanies Paul as he attempts to focus on writing his first novel but inevitably gets pulled into a world filled with alcohol, drugs, and the magnetic allure of life's manic pleasures.

Author P. H. Mountain has crafted a superb memoir that grips you from the opening page and immediately lets you know that you’re in for a wild ride. This is achieved by the compelling, unfiltered narrative style, filled with sharp wit, and is no-holds-barred as Paul lays out the bare facts of his decisions, consequences, and forces both within and beyond his control. Mountain's storytelling brilliantly captures the essence of his reckless and unapologetic youth, marked by unconventional relationships, adventure, and, at times, pure chaos. I also found myself spellbound by the dialogue style, which feels natural and easy to follow but also perfectly captures those hazy, aimless moments of existence that many of us have fallen into when having a good (or a very bad) time. I thoroughly enjoyed every atmospheric moment of diving into the depths of a wild and unpredictable life, viewed through a lens of humorous and vividly descriptive prose. Overall, Nuns with Shotguns is an exhilarating journey laced with moments of introspection and deep appreciation for life's unpredictable beauty, even in its craziest moments, and I would not hesitate to recommend it.

Foluso Falaye

P.H. Mountain's Nuns with Shotguns is about a 20-year-old with a passion for writing and his unrestrained, random exploits in the serene town of Eldora, Colorado. While dating someone he loved, Paul wasn't sure about a future with her. Since they belonged to a different, more affluent social group, he felt he wouldn't be accepted by her family. Apart from this, his relationship with other women further complicated his feelings. Meanwhile, Paul hoped to build his career in writing and finish his first book while exploring different story ideas. Besides the women and his writing goals, his days were occupied with drugs and alcohol, which were sometimes combined to maximize their effect. Though he sometimes drank to avoid the difficult decisions, Paul found he must choose his life partner, regardless of his insecurities.

Paul's rich words sing a harmonious blend of poetry, humor, and natural, boyish carefreeness. For example, he mentions that his laughter descended like "rain upon the mountain valley below." The book is amazingly descriptive. I've never read a description of an LSD experience as vivid as Paul's, which is complete with the unusual thoughts he had and his different emotional phases. Nuns with Shotguns is filled with several stories that will leave you visibly shocked, from sexual exploits to substance use. Despite his many physical activities in the book, Paul's story also reveals an internal struggle for acceptance and profound questions about the future—which readers who are or once were yet to choose a lifelong partner or occupation will relate to. Nuns with Shotguns offers a powerful mix of artistic language, history, and passion. I had so much fun with it. I wished it would never end.

Jamie Michele

P.H. Mountain's Nuns with Shotguns, the second installment of The World is My Ashtray series, is a well-written account of the life of Paul, a working-class man in the Rockies. The tale follows his dealings with relationships, work, and self-discovery as he navigates his way through the harsh mountain winters, money problems, and complex romantic interrelationships. Paul develops significantly throughout the book as he contends with decisions about his love for Lonnie, his desire for Allie, and his fluctuating goals, including his work as a writer-in-waiting. Paul's first-person point of view explores themes like independence, individualism, and choosing non-traditional career routes in spite of obligations and expectations from society.

P.H. Mountain delivers a memoir that embodies sex, drugs, and life's everyday sinkholes through the character of Paul and those who surround him in Nuns with Shotguns. I admit that it was the title that drew me to the book, and while Paul isn't exactly the most likable character, nobody can argue that he isn't intriguing. He is a Lothario who hasn't just lost his way in life; he's one who never really knew which way he was supposed to go to begin with. I enjoyed Paul's internal conflict and the realism of his willingness to have wild affairs with just about anyone. Still, this memoir gives him enough depth for us to want him to thrive, which is a testament to his skill as a writer. The memoir reads perfectly well as a standalone, has a handful of scenes with explicit sex, and is supremely creative as well as totally engrossing. Overall, this is an excellent read for those who enjoy a good, hard, and dirty literary romp. Recommended.