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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
The Good Life by Thomas Corrigan is a gritty, no-nonsense, coming-of-age story. When fifteen-year-old Walker Morrison turns up on a church’s steps with a bullet in his chest and covered in various injuries, he wants to tell his story to the young priest and thus begins a harrowing confession. Walker has negotiated middle school and entered high school with a new reputation, new friends and as a football player, an enhanced desirability. All through elementary and middle school, Walker and his best friend Josh have had each other’s backs but when Josh’s abusive father re-emerges and slithers his way back into Josh and his mother’s lives, things begin to change in the best friends' relationship. Walker just wants to slide by and get through high school but when he gets caught up in bullying and drug dealing, he decides enough is enough and it is time to take a stand for himself, his best friend, and for all those other kids who are brutally bullied at his school.
Some books are simply superb and The Good Life is absolutely one of those. Young adult themes are possibly not my go-to read but this book is so realistic and so heart-wrenching that it is impossible not to be drawn into the life and death struggles of a high school freshman. When I discovered that author Thomas Corrigan wrote this novel as a senior in high school, I was literally blown away. The reality of Walker’s situation oozes from every page and it was impossible not to get fully wrapped up in his tragedy. The story addresses issues that may not necessarily be obvious to young adults, such as PTSD. As we discover in the narrative, it is not just military personnel who can suffer from this disorder. Any traumatic event in a person’s childhood can bring this to the surface, even years after it happened. The language and colloquial vernacular in the story were somewhat foreign to me but I will just have to trust the author that it is appropriate to the current generation of young people. I have little doubt this story will resonate with many young adults and for an author so young, to be so talented and so insightful, I can only predict he has a big future in the literary world. A stunning read and one I enjoyed tremendously.