Greg Everett,
Screaming at a Wall
(Grundle Ink, 2001)

Greg Everett's book Screaming at a Wall doesn't really need a review. Everett sums up the novel just about perfectly by calling it "an intoxicatedly sober, sarcastically sincere, self-deprecatingly self-aggrandizing, sex, drugs, rock and roll story of love, life and passion." The person who can make sense of this statement is exactly the person who should be reading Everett's book. Filled with sarcastic wit, cynicism, sincerity and, yes, sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, I find the book to be a good read.

Screaming at a Wall, although written in a tone and language that the average person should be able to follow, is not, I would say, written for the average person. Sure, anyone could read it and follow most of the action, but chances are a lot of sarcasm and wit would be missed or misinterpreted. I get the feeling that Everett is directing his writing toward an intelligent audience that is tired of reading the same old mainstream stuff.

Although Everett's tale is a story that has been told before, it is certainly not told in the same way. Everett refuses to "clean up" language and content to please the masses. He is not afraid to voice his opinions, even if they go against the flow (and most of them do). This makes for interesting and reflective reading.

His writing is often tongue-in-cheek and directs a lot of criticism toward people who choose not to think for themselves. He is likely considered "against the establishment" by many as he pokes fun at ... well, at everything possible and then some! I like this aspect of his writing, however. Too many writers are overly considerate of what others may think of their work, and this colours the opinions that they choose to express. Not so with Everett. He writes whatever it is he is thinking -- either pure and simple, or rich and complex, depending on the moment. He promotes life and living, rather than following someone else's rules, and he expresses his thoughts in a tell-it-like-it-is sort of way that kept me interested and amused.

The content of the book itself can be considered either inspiring or depressing, depending both on what sort of mood you are in at the time and what part of the book you are reading. Basically an autobiography, it follows Everett's life through high school and to the present, where he currently owns and operates a publishing company. During the course of the book, Everett deals with his drug addiction, his love life, finishing school and finding meaning. Most people have to deal with all of these things, but Everett's presentation of his life events had me gripped. The book can be confusing at times -- Everett often meanders from subject to subject -- but I feel that this merely reflects life itself, and Everett certainly cannot be faulted for depicting life accurately.

In Screaming at a Wall, Everett often claims he is not a good writer. In this, I strongly disagree. At times, I am in disagreement as to what Everett is saying, but never with how he is saying it. His style is appealing. He has a knack of getting his meaning across in a simple, no-nonsense way that allows the reader to clearly see where he is coming from. How is that not good writing? For an honest, unique and well-presented look at the life of an inspired young man, I would strongly recommend this book.

- Rambles
written by Cheryl Turner
published 22 February 2003

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