Here's Waldo

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Atmosphere Press, 2020 - Fiction - 352 pages
2 Reviews
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"Spanning the late 90s to the 2010s, HERE'S WALDO is a sprawling, tragicomic novel that tracks the story of Waldo Collins, a nerdy kid born in a torn-up town in the shadow of Chicago-unincorporated Des Plaines, IL. It's a story about what it was like to come of age as the new millennium dawned with all its irrevocable changes. A story about the family bonds we're born with and those we create along the way, and about using humor to find light in the dark. About generational trauma and the continuation (or completion) of cycles of violence. It's here we follow Waldo from age eight to twenty-four as he figures out his place in the world, leaves his hometown to become a writer, and ultimately comes back to face everything (and everyone) he left behind. Here's a story of loss, love, grief, guilt, and a search for meaning. Here's Waldo."--Back cover.

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I was completely absorbed by this novel from the first chapter. Each chapter is relatively short, almost like pieces of flash fiction, but they are absolutely packed with events, sometimes shocking, sometimes movingly tender, very often downright beautiful, and all told with vivid, intricate prose. The characters are so well-crafted and nuanced, described with such vivid language, that I at no point felt I was reading about anything other than real people. It's that good.
The narrative describes Waldo Collins's youth growing up in Des Plaines, Illinois, and his experiences with a dysfunctional household, a vicious local bully, the bonds of friendship, burgeoning sexuality, death, hatred, life and love. There are scenes which disturbed or left me in awe, and also extremely moving ones.
Notably, there are interludes throughout the book which are narrated from the perspective of its secondary characters, sometimes even the ones painted as antagonists of Waldo. These are not only fascinating, but to me were rewarding as well, as they contributed to a truly well-rounded story of the community that Waldo is growing up in and the private struggles and difficult histories of those that inhabit it. This is a humane work that explores what shapes us as people and even the extent to which we can be forgiven and seek forgiveness.
Highly recommended.

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Here's Waldo by the author Nick Olson is his debut novel. This is the story of Waldo Collins who was born in Illinois. This story is about the family bonding that a child shares with his parents. It shows the mother son bonding over a movie night. He gets moral support from his mother at all the scary parts. A night outing for a father son bonding was amazing. The story further covers the journey of Waldo as he keeps growing up to eleventh birthday and then so on. Waldo wanted to be a writer. Grab a copy of this book and read about his journey.
Language of the book was simple. Narration is smooth. Cover page of the book is interesting. I really enjoyed this story. It is divided into multiple parts with each chapter 2-4 pages long. Story is intriguing and I was able to finish it in two days. Pick this book, I am sure it will not fail to impress you. Great work by the author in his debut novel.

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