I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Sorry I Wasn't What You Needed by James Bailey
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on May 26, 2015
Genres: Family Life, Literary
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Ten years ago, C.J. Neubauer fled his family, trading coasts to provide himself three time zones of buffer space. Random email and social media posts yield all the contact he needs. Until a late-night phone call from his wistful father. Unaccustomed to hearing his dad say "I love you," C.J. freezes, vowing instead to reciprocate the next time they speak. But when the phone wakes him the following morning, it's his older brother informing him their father has committed suicide.
Sporting a nagging conscience and a chip on his shoulder, C.J. books a flight home on his girlfriend's credit card. All he wants is to bury his father and try to make sense of what led him to take his own life. All he has to go on is a note that reads, "Sorry I wasn't what you needed." Was it intended for C.J. and his siblings? The mother who walked out on them twenty-five years ago? Or someone else altogether?
Alternately heartfelt and laugh-out-loud funny, Sorry I Wasn't What You Needed explores the familial bonds that obligate us for life--and beyond.
C.J. traded Seattle for Baltimore ten years ago to provide the most distance possible from his family. With a stalled writing career and a girlfriend who tolerates him on a good day, C.J. is drifting through life. When his father calls after a year of silence C.J. is taken aback. The phone call from his brother the next day is even more unexpected. Their father has committed suicide. Traveling home may not be what C.J. wanted, but it might be just what he needs.
The first chapter of Sorry I Wasn’t What You Needed almost turned me off of the book. The main character, C.J., just seemed very unlikeable. But I am very glad I continued on. The pace of the book picks up after C.J. returns to the Seattle area and the addition of characters, other than his girlfriend and neighbor, flesh out who C.J. is. The familial ties are painted with a very fine brush and really enhance the story. The further into the book, the better the story gets. About three quarters in the story morphs and instead of focusing on a petulant C.J. it wraps around the whole Neubauer family and that is what makes this book great. The suicide that brings everyone together is a study in how suicide may be a way out for one person but a daily struggle for the people left behind. I have gotten sick of books with an adult male protagonist where they remain kicking and screaming in teenage angst and entitlement. This was a nice change where the boy-man actually grew and expanded, and it made for a powerful and moving ending that was not wrapped in a neat bow but left room for further growth.
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