Ten months--that's how long twenty-six-year-old writer and aspiring actor Jay Sakovsky decides to stay and teach in the bohemian beach town of Soul City, California, to save up cash and overcome his anxiety before moving on to Hollywood.
But after several “friendly chats” with the vice principal about hangover sweats and black eyes from barroom brawls, Jay sees a therapist who helps him connect his self-destructive tendencies and artistic blocks to his undiagnosed OCD, setting him on a ten-year healing journey that drives him to near madness as he explores the limits of his heart, creativity, and psyche.
A surreal, darkly comic, and psychologically epic novel, The Soul City Salvation explores mental illness, friendship, aging, masculinity, modern love, the creative process, spiritual awakening, and fighting for respect in an uncaring world.
*The Soul City Salvation is the fifth book in a loosely-linked series, with Hammond, The Summer of Crud, Understanding the Alacrán, and Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story as books one-four. Each novel can be read independently of the others.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.
In Soul City Salvation we watch Jay Sakovsky as he works as a teacher while dealing with his mental illness. Jay has decided it's best if he can save up some money and try to calm his anxiety a bit before he chases his dreams of fame and fortune. While at first this seems like a great plan, Jay soon realizes maybe things will be a bit harder than he thought.
For me, Jay was a good main character. I was able to personally relate to him in a way that doesn't happen very often for me. He was very frantic, from his compulsions to making sure every door and window was locked several times to his over dramatic fear of asking his neighbor to turn their music down. We see Jay emphasize every aspect of day to day living. It isn't easy to read, and I'm sure some might find it over dramatized as mental illness can be hard to understand, however I thought it was wonderfully done.
The story itself was well told, and the writing was incredible. One of my favorite things about LaPoma's writing is how he creates these moments that connect with you on such a deep level. This is the second book of his I have read and both books have had moments that completely haulted me in that moment. His work is definitely not for the faint of heart; it is grungy, blunt, crude, dirty and anything but pretty. Yet, it's so freaking beautiful.