The Motel Life - Willy Vlautin, Nate Beaty

The Motel Life explores the frustrations and failed dreams of two Nevada brothers—on the run after a hit-and-run accident—who, forgotten by society, and short on luck and hope, desperately cling to the edge of modern life.

 

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The acclaim I've seen for this book was hard to ignore. "Echoes of Of Mice And Men" (one of my favorite novels), comparisons to Raymond Carver and novels of the Beat Generation... couldn't help but be curious! I came across a movie-tie in edition recently at a used bookstore. Haven't seen the film yet, didn't even know one was made but the copy I found was only $2 so I figured it was worth checking out the hype. I was underwhelmed. It wasn't awful, it had its interesting moments but largely it was just sort of meh for me. The opening was pretty good, I was just thinking they'd go on a much bigger adventure than they did, maybe meet really quirky characters on the road, maybe there'd be a big police showdown? The concept had such potential that wasn't brought to fruition, least not to me. It's a pretty short book so I kept reading to see if the ending would have a big ol' redeeming twist. I don't want to get into spoiler territory so I'll just leave it at saying the ending irked me. I could never do that to my brother. Leave things like that. I will say I really liked the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. For such a small square of art, they were impressively detailed.