I have had the pleasure of calling Chad a friend for well over a year now. I've read a lot of his stuff in beta stages and I'm usually pretty impressed with what he delivers. I was lucky enough to have done the same with this, his most recent novella. I loved his coming-of-age story from last summer, Of Foster Homes And Flies and was excited to see how he'd follow it up. Well, I can tell you that Wallflower is an about face.
Wallflower is the first-person account of Chris, a young man--a boy in a lot of ways who is just starting to feel his way in the world. Trying on adulthood while desperately clinging to youthful ideals of responsibility and mortality. While out with his friends one day, they break into an abandoned house--urban exploring, I think the kids call it--and while inside they discover a derelict sleeping in one of the rooms. The boys end up assaulting and injuring the man before they flee the scene. Chris however decides he's going to go back. he wants to see that the man is okay but he has another reason. He noticed the hobo's drug paraphernalia lying about and wants to try heroin, just to do it. Chris embarks on a needle-fueled journey that goes deeper than he ever intended as he discovers that there are perils and pitfalls that were never covered in the after-school specials.
What plays out is an odd take on the master/apprentice arc, shoved through William Burroughs fedora. It's bleak and haunting. Brushburn raw and brimming with dark realism and it is honestly horrific.
Wallflower is available on Amazon.
After an encounter with a homeless man, a high school graduate becomes obsessed with the idea of doing heroin, challenging himself to try it just once. A bleak tale of addiction, delusion, and flowers.