The Never Enders by Michael Sonbert
Where do you go when you feel like life isn’t worth living anymore and all you want to do is slowly destroy yourself? New York City, of course, which is exactly where our narrator Perry Patton takes us. His older brother Alex lives in the city, but it takes him awhile to even go to him for help as the two don’t get along, and his mom’s calls for him to come home go ignored by Perry.
Once he arrives in the city, Perry meets an assortment of people he dubs The Never Enders, giving nicknames that he refers to them as in his head, but never out loud: Ginger, Smoke, Dirtmouth, King, Ocean, and more. Throughout the novel, Perry lives a life of self-destruction from alcohol to cigarettes to coke to actual physical fights. His ongoing mantra throughout the book is that “I am going to be dead and I’ll be dead forever and absolutely, positively, nothing will be named after me.” In the end though, it comes down to one choice: Should he give up the life he feels means nothing or find a way to prove it does?
The Never Enders is a gritty, intense novel that will have you hooked from page one. As the story progressed, I found myself immersed in Perry’s world waiting to see what would happen next to this young man who seems to be on the edge of life and death.
To me, this book read like a grown up The Perks of Being a Wallflower touching on a lot of the same topics as well as having a narrator that sounds like an older, disillusioned Charlie. I’ve also read that The Never Enders has been compared to Fight Club, and I’d agree with the idea that Sonbert writes like a young Chuck Palahniuk, focusing on the outcasts of society and the things they are involved in. Just like Palahniuk, Sonbert also has an amazing way with words, stating life truths in seemingly simple ways.
One of my favorite quotes from the novel slightly demonstrates the above idea:
“The chatting mob at the mouth of the elevator lost its voice as we stepped on and it made me realize something: People don’t talk in elevators. Or if they do, it’s so quietly an so briefly as not to be noticed at all. Little mice squeaking and twittering, rubbing shoulders with the rest of the vermin. In an elevator the self-conscious rule.
I think they should make the inside of movie theaters look like the inside of elevators. Maybe then people will shut the fuck up while you’re trying to watch a movie.”
The Never Enders spans many emotions: happiness, anger, sadness, disgust. It’s definitely a novel worth reading, full of passion and twists, and I am honestly hoping that Sonbert will write a second novel.