— From Fiction Recommendations
Quick's ability to build characters that are both realistic and surprising is what gives the protagonist David Granger the agility with which he gets under your skin. He is the embodiment of that person at the party that always makes racist/sexist/homophobic/discriminatory comments, based on archaic ideals that make everyone uncomfortable and unintentionally hurts feelings. If you don't have one, you've heard a story with one in it. This book, in all its well-written, perfectly-paced, heart-wrenching-but-hilarious glory did not resolve my issues with family I morally disagree with. It did make me think about them compassionately; it reminded me that they've had lives and still have layers. Granger's layers are revealed as mysteries from his past, and he talks of the past and present and future as if you were right in front of him, hearing his last words.
July 2017 Indie Next List
“David Granger is a 68-year-old, conservative war veteran with a bleeding-heart liberal son, a granddaughter who needs him, and a whole lot of emotional baggage from his time in Vietnam. He is patriotic and brash, and he has no problem expressing his opinion. In our current politically divided culture, where people with different views struggle to understand each other, this story has incredible value. I wanted to dislike this protagonist, whose views are so different from my own, but I couldn't. He was kind and caring and his story pulled at my heart.”
— Melanie Locke (E), Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO
The New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook offers a timely novel featuring his most fascinating character yet, a Vietnam vet embarking on a quixotic crusade to track down his nemesis from the war.
After sixty-eight-year-old David Granger crashes his BMW, medical tests reveal a brain tumor that he readily attributes to his wartime Agent Orange exposure. He wakes up from surgery repeating a name no one in his civilian life has ever heard--that of a Native American soldier whom he was once ordered to discipline. David decides to return something precious he long ago stole from the man he now calls Clayton Fire Bear. It may be the only way to find closure in a world increasingly at odds with the one he served to protect. It may also help him to finally recover from his wife's untimely demise.
As David confronts his past to salvage his present, a poignant portrait emerges: that of an opinionated and good-hearted American patriot fighting like hell to stay true to his red, white, and blue heart, even as the country he loves rapidly changes in ways he doesn't always like or understand. Hanging in the balance are Granger's distant art-dealing son, Hank; his adoring seven-year-old granddaughter, Ella; and his best friend, Sue, a Vietnamese American who respects David's fearless sincerity.
Through the controversial, wrenching, and wildly honest David Granger, Matthew Quick offers a no-nonsense but ultimately hopeful view of America's polarized psyche. By turns irascible and hilarious, insightful and inconvenient, David is a complex, wounded, honorable, and loving man. The Reason You're Alive examines how the secrets and debts we carry from our past define us; it also challenges us to look beyond our own prejudices and search for the good in us all.