Cover Image: Broken People

Broken People

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Member Reviews

I was unsure of the book at the beginning, it felt a little too referential, but the latter two-thirds were so worthwhile and evocative.
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I am not saying this is a bad book. I just could not get into it. I didn't really feel anything for the characters, couldn't connect. Maybe I was just not in the right place when I was reading it, but it just didn't work for me. I do appreciate the opportunity to have had the chance to read it, and I would not deter anyone from picking it up. (I know we ordered it)
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What if there was someone who could heal you of all your problems in 3 days? 
Although skeptical, that sounds like exactly what Sam needs. Suffering through depression & addiction, Sam’s life doesn’t feel like it has much purpose. 
He journeys with a friend to meet a shaman, who takes them on a 3 day journey of self-reflection and healing. 
This book was ok. It was hard to connect to and fairly dry and unfortunately a bit boring at times. It was well written, but just didn’t hold my attention.
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Thank you to Netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. A mesmerizing account of a young man struggling toward self-awareness and eventually,  self-acceptance. Often a difficult read, the author/narrator is intense and simultaneously self-absorbed and obtuse. He can be very difficult to like, perhaps due to the fact that he dislikes himself so thoroughly.  His journey to learning to accept his flaws makes for a good story. While this genre isn't my preference,  I concur with the critics who recommend it.
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DNF. Too much angst and self-loathing. The whole California scene seemed cliched and shallow, and I just didn’t care enough about Sam to keep reading. This one was just not for me.
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“H e fixes everything that’s wrong with you in three days.”  What a perfect opening line for a book! Who wouldn’t want to fix everything you hated about yourself in practically no time? And so we are hooked as we are plunged into the life of Sam, a gay writer living in LA, having left behind his life in New York, his former lover and his friends but still carrying enormous self loathing. 
Through a series of chance encounters Sam is given an opportunity to meet a shaman who, we are told, has .the ability to free an individual and show him a better path. Buck, a wealthy architect invites Sam to accompany him to meet Jacob, and following the initial meeting, the two decide to embark on the journey. toward a better life.
Sam is the author of a memoir about his personal struggles with addiction and recovery. Knowing this about him, the reader understands therefore that he has demons in  his past. As Sam begins the 3 day process of facing those demons under the guidance of the shaman, he goes deeper and deeper into his memories and the readers go with him.
This is not an easy book to read. Sam is deeply troubled, totally self-absorbed, craving love but unable to reciprocate. His narrative is raw and unflinching and the reader soon  is as disgusted with Sam as Sam himself is. I pushed on through his broken relationships but it was not a pleasant trip. The question at the end is whether the trip was worth it, both for Sam and the reader. You will have to decide for yourself if that initial promise was fulfilled and whether the journey was worth it.
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The relatable young adult struggle of wanting to “fix” yourself, can you really be fixed in three days? Dry and youthful, a wonderful book for anyone who is in or has been through their 20s
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First this book is mainly about the characters and recalling memories. There is no plot. I found Sam, tiring. I could not sympathize with him. He has been searching with help from drugs and finds a shaman at a wellness retreat who promises to help him. Its not the gay aspect of his lifestyle that bothers me, its just the personality of Sam and so many beautiful, white people.
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Heavy topics but compelling. Almost felt like peeking into someone's life in a detached way which makes it sound not engrossing, yet it was. 
Sam is a writer who is gay, a recovering addict with intense body dysmorphia, and has severe anxiety. We are in his head as he attempts to "cure" himself through a three-day ayahuasca fueled binge with a shaman, which basically is just him reliving all of the memories of past dysfunctional relationships in every minute, horrific detail. 
And yet, so many of the emotions, the relationship problems, the self-loathing, the questioning, are universal. And the writing is so brilliant that it all feels personal. 
Reminds me a bit of My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh.
I can see why some might not enjoy this. It can be uncomfortable, a bit pedantic, maybe even smug, with a somewhat pat ending. But I believe those are all or mostly intentional and to me the glimpse into the life of this character was fascinating.
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It is odd when it feels like the author of a novel is also the main character of the novel.  Sam Lansky does this with such grace.  Broken People also uses another odd narrative device, an Ayahuasca trip, to tell much of the story in the novel.

This is a character-driven novel.
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Great memoir and parody of a memoir at the same time.  The story itself is both sad and funny, but it's the metacommentary on memoir writing that makes this book shine.
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I wanted to love this book but sadly I just could not connect with anything in the story. I picked it up and put it down so many times thinking maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for this type of book but just never found my self connected to it.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.

This book came to the top of my to-read pile at the wrong time.  In the midst of a global pandemic and social revolution, there was no way that the majority of this novel would be perceived as anything other than tone-deaf.  A white, affluent man complaining about his lack of understanding - of himself and from others - was never going to fly.

Ultimately, it felt exactly like the scene in the book with Sam and his editor - Lansky wanted to write another memoir and his real-life editor told him it wouldn't sell.  So instead, Lansky concocted a "novel" that would perform exactly like a memoir, but it would be "fiction."  I understand why someone who has Lansky's experiences might want to write them down; I don't think that means that any of us have to like reading them. 

What else I didn't like: 
- A white man at the age of 28 who speaks as though he has all the wisdom he ever needs to gain.  Like he's lived through it all.  "Looking back" for him is remembering four or five years ago.
- A cast of characters who would think that a dusty Paris flat is the most trying of circumstances.
- The name-dropping and brand-worship of upper class materialism.

What I did like:
I think Lansky exposed a few raw truths, namely about HIV in today's world, body image, addiction, and mental health. 

Unfortunately, these truths make up less than 10% of the book, and the rest of it is the hard-to-stomach whining of a white boy who has no idea how lucky he is.  Skip this one.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I really can’t say I liked this book at all. The main character, Sam, is so self centred and unlikeable, and the style in which the book is written is not one I enjoy. 

If you are a fan of last year’s best seller,  Normal People, you will probably enjoy this too.
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Sigh.  Can the shaman fix Sam in three days?  That's the question this poses up front but then you'll learn about his issues.  This is kind of an autobiographic novel, with much of it paralleling Lansky's actual life (or does it?). How you feel about it might depend on how much patience you have with him.  Yes he's had darkness in his past but there's some light.  There's also steam. He's essentially an unlikable character (a little whiny in spots) but Lansky addresses a variety of things such body image which will soften your view.  Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.  I suspect this will face a divided audience- those who hate it and those who love it.  I'm in the middle - I respect the writing and I value his insight.
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While I found myself engaged in the first half of this book and Sam’s journey, I had a difficult time finishing and keeping up —by the end I even had a difficult time liking Sam’s character.
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I felt like I was reading a gossip column about a second-rate author.  The main character was way too self-absorbed and needy.  Not a good read.
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A recommended purchase for adult fiction collections, despite the fact that is the type of book that is likely to be polarizing among patrons. However, those who like it will probably LOVE it.
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This was not what I expected. It did not capture my attention. I wanted to read based on prior reviews but I could not engage so I did not finish. The writing is good but the content did not interest me as read.
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I just wasn't a fan of this book. The hook is that Sam overhears at a party a rave review of a shaman, that he takes just three days to fix people. Sam feels very broken- he loathes himself, sabotages relationships, and despite having successfully beaten a drug addiction and published a memoir, feels a fraud. I suspect many people could relate to this, but he's just not that likable a character for me, and the fix of the shaman does seem pretty simplistic. It's very written, but it's not a journey I'm glad I took. I received an advanced copy from Netgalley for an honest review.
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