Stockboy Nation


Fiction - Drama
261 Pages
Reviewed on 06/20/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Thomas Duffy is a New York based writer who has authored several fiction novels, including 2016's 9/11 themed To Never Know. He finds stories of day-to-day challenges fascinating and intriguing. Duffy has written about different topics such as working in retail, mental illness, romance, and existentialism. Stockboy Nation is his eighth novel and his first sequel. Duffy also has an interest in film criticism and has interviewed several celebrities from the silver screen, including Minnie Driver and Richard Dreyfuss.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Stockboy Nation is a work of fiction in the interpersonal drama and slice of life sub-genres and was penned by author Thomas Duffy. Following the events of the 2013 novel Stockboy, we find ourselves once again in the hands of Phillip Doherty. In some ways his life appears on track, a new life set out in California and a wedding somewhere on the horizon to fiancée Melissa. But when Phil’s latest novel crashes and burns, he finds himself looking back and assessing what he truly wants from life. Old flames return and new opportunities present themselves, and what follows is an introspective and thoughtful drama about the choices we make and where they lead us.

Author Thomas Duffy has crafted a superb and slow-burning dramatic novel which will certainly keep audiences emotionally engaged. One of the things which I found to be most appealing about the work was the fact that Phillip isn’t particularly special or different, and therefore many of his struggles and decisions in life are so widely relatable to other adults of his age. This emotional realism is well penned, and it is a triumph to see such open and expressive speech and thought presentation in the narrative. Though the plot is somewhat slow in the early part, as you get to know Phillip more, you go deeper into his history and psyche and find yourself reflecting on your own life choices too. Overall, I would certainly recommend Stockboy Nation for drama fans who appreciate great writing and emotional resonance.

Grant Leishman

Stockboy Nation by Thomas Duffy is an American mid-life crisis in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Phillip Doherty has let life drift alongside himself without actively taking part in it. When he wrote his first best-selling book about life as a stockboy in a New York bookstore, Phillip thought his life was about to change for the better. His first publishing contract led to a contract for a second book. His second story, an adult fantasy, was a spectacular flop and Phillip found himself unsure what to do next. He decides to go along with his live-in girlfriend and fiancée to San Diego but he has great difficulty finding work and deciding where he wants his life to lead. In a major step backward, Phillip finally accepts work at the San Diego branch of the bookstore where he first worked all those years ago in New York, still as a stockboy. When he meets a college lecturer, LeeAnn, and is attracted to her, he has to come to terms with his deteriorating relationship with Melissa and his directionless life. Phillip is lost in an ever-changing world that he doesn’t really seem to understand how to connect with.

Stockboy Nation is a story that many people will be able to identify with. It is an extremely common feeling that many of us feel overwhelmed by the events of the world, especially at a time like this, and we wonder how we can fit into this world that doesn’t seem to want to know us at all. Thomas Duffy has created a character that we want to simultaneously identify with and grab by the shoulders and shake some sense into. The relationship between Phillip and Melissa was definitely the highlight of the story for me. Clearly, they love each other but the question of how much is their being together just a matter of convenience and social convention for Phillip, but for Melissa also. I particularly enjoyed the angst Phillip felt over his aging and especially that all his coworkers were so much younger than him, as he had never climbed the corporate ladder like others of his generation. A gregarious, outgoing, people-person, Phillip found himself surrounded by coworkers of a much younger age who had little in common with him and this just exacerbated his loneliness that he felt in the workplace and also at home. Even though Melissa was there, they seemed to have lost that “magic” of the early part of their relationship. This is a good, thought-provoking read in a time of world turmoil.