I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain, by Will Walton
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
How do you deal with a hole in your life?
Do you grieve?
Do you drink?
Do you make out with your best friend?
Do you turn to poets and pop songs?
Do you question everything?
Do you lash out?
Do you turn the lashing inward?
If you’re Avery, you do all of these things. And you write it all down in an attempt to understand what’s happened — and is happening — to you.
I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain is an astonishing novel about navigating death and navigating life, at a time when the only map you have is the one you can draw for yourself.
Middle Grade/Young Adult
Content Warning for: Character Death, Alcohol Abuse
Trigger warnings: This book has someone dealing with the effects of alcoholism and death. If either of these things are triggering to you please do not read this. They both play major parts in the book.
I wish I had this book when I was younger. Unfortunately I had a lot of people in my family/close family friends die when I was really young. There’s nothing you can do to really prepare for someone you love dying, but I feel like this book would have been good to deal with the aftermath.
Although this book does contain the death of the MC’s close family member, it is more about his transition into young adulthood. For Avery this means he gets handed a stack of books on poetry, and it changes his worldview. He had once written a poem for class, but this marks his transition into being a poet. As this happens the structure of the book changes with him and the tone of the poetry he reads changes. I thought that was very smart of Walton to have the book mimic Avery’s own personal writing style.
Another thing this book does well is show how confusing it is to be a gay teen. Avery’s good friend knows, and he is comfortable with his sexuality, but there is a realistic amount of struggle he faces to figure out how to be a gay man in his own world within the context of his relationships. Avery’s vulnerability was palpable as you read the book, and that is something that is hard to achieve as a writer.
The best part of this book werethe relationships that Avery had. He had a complex relationship with his family, but there was so much love. Through Avery, Walton shows how complicated it is to keep loving someone through incredibly difficult times. People make personal decisions that affect those around them, and staying with those people is difficult even though you really love them.
While Walton did not water down the harsh realities of alcoholism or family problems, he did not let these tragedies become the entirety of the story. Instead he used them to show what kind of person Avery is and what kind of person he is starting to become. This book also humanizes the people in Avery’s life who are going through really terrible things. His mother is an alcoholic, but we still get to see her as his mom. She’s more than her disease, and it makes the reader more empathetic to her instead of just writing her off. All of the characters in the book are written like that, and it was amazing to read.
This was a very short, quick read, but do not let the length fool you: this book packs a serious emotional punch. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in it. This is a book about real and incredibly painful things, but it radiates hope and love throughout it.
We’re giving away a copy of I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain to one lucky reader! Entering is super easy– just follow us on twitter and retweet our giveaway tweet! We’ll select one lucky winner on Friday, June 22.
Legal Stuff: Open to residents of the United States who are over the age of 18, or minors over the age of 13 with parental permission. Contest will end at 11:59pm on Thursday, June 21, and one winner will be selected on June 22. Winner will have 72 hours after notification to reply, otherwise another winner may be chosen.
* so sorry to our international readers! Please know that we’re working on a special giveaway for you. Unfortunately I simply cannot afford to ship books overseas right now.
Will Walton is a bookseller in Georgia and author of Anything Could Happen, which was his first novel.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.