The Literary Haters Ball: By The Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends by J. David Osborne
A review by: Hatebino Hateglesias.
Okay, so by the time I was done reading that freaking title, I felt like I'd done my reading for the day. Were you trying to see how many words you could fit into the front of your book, Osborne? Damn, man, take it easy on the titles. You know what? I'm gonna cut you some slack because this is, after all, your first book. However, I'll say this: we should bring back public hangings just so we can get back at the "editor" that allowed you to get away with that.
According to Amazon, this narrative (I'm calling it that so people will understand, but this damn thing is so convoluted it should be called a "nrrtaaiev") takes place in Siberia in 1953 (Way too keep your shit relevant, Osborne! You sure know what the kids want to read about these days). Stalin is dead and a thief named Alek Karriker (according to what I could find online, the author is a white dude from Oklahoma, so don't be too surprised about the hidden KKK in aleK KarriKer's name) who used to make good money, is now feeling the pressure from other bad dudes. Alek is trapped in an icy prison camp controlled by the criminals where violence, death, and chaos are everywhere (you know, much like in the story itself). Some really bad guys are planning to kill Alek and things are heating up because these lovely folks are running low on opium and getting really antsy about it. Alek knows his only way to survive is escaping the hellish prison, but escaping prison in Siberia is suicide (much like writing about it). To pull it off, he enlists the help of an aging guard and a beautiful, kinky, murderous nurse. Together they need to find a "calf" to survive the trip, which means they need another member in their group who will eventually be cannibalized when things get tough.
First thing first: J. David Osborne? What does the J stand for? I've met a few guys who start their names with a letter, and they've all been douchebags. Anyway, moving on. A sexy nurse, bad dudes doing drugs, and a calf? Wow, seems like Jessica or Johnny or Justin or whoever was trying to cram more tropes into the "nrrtaaiev" than words on the title. That being said, I kinda wish he'd stuck to the tropes, because when he tries to do "original" things, the whole story starts to collapse faster than a tower of cards in a hurricane. I'd love to tell you what doesn't work, but I'm not sure I can because this is one of the most unnecessarily complicated novels in the last ten years, so nothing works. There's a scar that moves around and some dark magic and some other weird stuff not worth mentioning because it doesn't lead anywhere. Listen, J, next time you need some psychotropics, give me a call; I know a guy who sells better stuff than whatever you're buying now.
There's some violence and a bit of sex and a lot of descriptions of cold and snow and then this thing is mercifully over. The only points Osborne gets here are for keeping this nightmare of a book short. Osborne has a smidge of talent, but he needs to do a few things if he's ever going to have a career as a writer. First, he needs to let someone else come up with the titles. Second, he needs to shorten his chapters, explain things a bit more, and use easier words. You know, like the amazing James Patterson. Also, I hope he never again writes a book where I need to go look up words because they're in another language. In the immortal words of Jules Winnfield: "English, motherfucker, do you speak it?"
Here's my verdict on this cold, pathetic mess: I could've written something better while watching a few episodes of River Monsters.