The Straitjacket Waltz

Fiction - Social Issues
422 Pages
Reviewed on 09/08/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

The Straitjacket Waltz by Glynn Thompson is a work of literary fiction that follows multiple characters who live on the fringes of what most would deem to be a civilized society. Written primarily in a first-person point of view narrative, Thompson builds a world of character depth that is exceptionally well developed, even if the actual world they inhabit is shallow by comparison. The timeline is set in the early 1970s and booze, debauchery, cheap women, and choppers are provided with the same limelight, enhanced by clipped prose that tears through the story alongside authentic dialogue. Gil and a ragtag group meander through life, morally broke and aimless but rich in satire and shenanigans.

Strippers. Harleys. Cheap motels. Joints. No, this is not my Christmas list. This is the microcosm Glynn Thompson places a reader in as we dive into The Straitjacket Waltz. Thompson draws up real-life situations that are divulged with a profound understanding of human nature and is skilled in the balancing act when it comes to the lighter subject matter, such as determining whether or not Joan's curtains match her drapes through to heavier realities involving the violent assault of a friend. I loved that this is, first and foremost, a book about just that. The tight bonds of friendship would lead to Gil choosing to leave Texas to pursue his friend's dream rather than his own. As far as character-driven novels go, this is a fantastic addition and I imagine when combined with bits of nostalgia and pop culture references, other readers will feel the exact same way. Very highly recommended.