• These Books Will Change Your Life - When You Cross That Line by the Sam Slaughter and When I Return To You, I Will Be Unfed by the Christopher Bowen.

    We celebrate youth, especially when we're old, but in literature and pop culture, always, and in all forms of media - the adventure, the possiblities, the lack of rules and restraints. It's all fucking there, right there and all they need to do is fucking grab it. What we forget at times, and do note that a massive cliche is to come - youth is also wated on the young. They don't know what they want or how to get it, they are lacking in the Zen and balance that comes with experience and wisdom, mastering the suffering and coming out on the other side alive, kicking, all onward, if not upward. And so it is that we, all old and missing our youth, are travel and read and near bite-size bursts of literature by two young writers we quite dig - When You Cross That Line by the Sam Slaughter and When I Return To You, I Will Be Unfed by the Christopher Bowen - who have produced two new(ish) joints that we quite dig - stories of (mostly) young men in mid-stride, desperately trying to get away from where they have been and so almost going somewhere, if they can just figure out how to do so.

    Slaughter's characters are trying to get to the next phase of their lives, which sometimes means new homes, and other times means letting go of old relationships and the synbols that came with them. They are (mostly) all encumbered by the challenges of youth, bad relationships and an inability to express what is okay and what is not. If it's hard to be hopeful for these characters overall, it's not hard to picture Slaughter building on this path of colorful characters in colorful situations, all of whom are hoping for better, all the while having no true idea if better is truly available to them. Bowen shines in the story's wrinkles, deftly depicting his protagonist's pain and confusion, while also presenting a character hoping to get to the next phase of his life, and frankly, back to his life, though whether that is available to the character may be less about place or relationship, then protagonist's battle with mental illness and all that comes with it. Some of this becomes more manageable with age, and wisdom, knowing yourself and your illness, but it's still hard to feel hopeful for the character. Not that we have to feel any more hopeful for him than we do for Slaughter's people. Not when both of these writers, and their characters, are on the move, reaching and sure to change your lives.