The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler
What’s it about?
This novel spans three generations in Northern Wisconsin between 1962 and 2022. The book is told in four separate parts and centers around a Boy Scout camp named “Camp Chippewa”. The book begins as 13-year-old Nelson tries to find a place among the other boys and men at camp.
What did it make me think about?
This was a coming-of-age story about fathers, sons, bullies, war, and ultimately about honor and integrity. Although the novel focuses on the father-son connection, Butler never downplays the role that mothers play in the lives of their sons.
Should I read it?
As many of you know I am a sucker for a good coming-of-age story. As this novel says, “We all start out as little kids.”- and maybe that is why we can all relate to parts of any story that begins in childhood. This book had one of the strongest characters I have read in a while. Nelson was the heart of this book and I personally felt that the stories were strongest when Nelson was most present. This novel has a lot to say, and although I thought the last half of the book was not as strong as the beginning, I would still recommend it.
“He can’t pinpoint it, the one thing about his personality, his being that, if changed, might win him more friends.”
If you like this try-
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
The Bartenders Tale by Ivan Doig
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
some favorites of the last decade
best of winter 2020
best of summer/fall 2019
best of winter/spring 2019
best of summer/ fall 2018
best of winter/spring 2017-18
best of spring/summer 2017
best of winter
best of summer 2014
last spring favorites
on my nightstand
edge of your seat
― Charles William Eliot
3 to 4- I found some aspect of this book redeeming but would not recommend it.
5 to 6- I really enjoyed something about this book (characters, plot, meaning etc.) but it was uneven. Some aspects were stronger than others.
7 to 8- It was a good book. I liked lots of aspects of this book. I would recommend it.
9 to 10- I was sorry to turn the last page. I highly recommend this book!