An addictive, humorous tale about individual struggles and family drama…
Glass’s deft novel paints a picture of the troubled life of his young protagonist who in the face of learning disability and his father’s harsh discipline develops a give-a-damn attitude and an ironic sense of humor. From a young age, the Knights know there is something wrong with their older son. It’s hard to discipline Dave, and he is extremely slow when it comes to learning stuff at school except for reading. As the family moves from one military base to other, including Iran, Dave becomes immune to his father’s harsh disciplinary ways who sees his son as nothing but an absolute failure. High school throws him into the company of other delinquents, and the boys more than often find themselves engaging in dangerous escapades. After graduating, Dave is drafted into army, but with his panache for getting in trouble, he finds himself on the radar of his Sergeant. Told in third-person omniscient and spanning over more than two decades, the story is strongest when it focuses on the dysfunctionality that rules the Knights lives and how it slowly affects Dave, pushing him on the edge. Glass’s writing is fluid and dialogue sharp while his entertaining storytelling keep the pages turning. He slowly and tantalizingly draws out the details as Dave struggles with his father’s strict discipline and his own delinquencies. The narrative detailing young Dave’s struggles in school, his inability to concentrate on his studies, and his troubled relationship with his father (with his fascination for all things trouble, he finds himself facing wrath of his father more than too often) evokes sympathy. The chapters chronicling Dave’s high school life and his humorous, occasionally dangerous escapades with the other boys are fun. One of the main strengths of Glass’s writing is his ability to deepen the emotional complexity of each character’s actions with deeply realized backstory. In narrating Dave’s story, he brings out Bobby, Lieutenant Colonel Knight, and Melissa’s characters to life. While failure, punishment, and disdain of his father dominate Dave’s life, his own give-a-damn attitude and his ability to form a meaningful connection with others help ease the pain. The ending is heartfelt, and though the narrative detailing mundane details of Knight family’s everyday life could have been shorter, readers will adore the memorable Dave and appreciate Glass’s fine rendering of the Knights’ dysfunctional family life. Rich with drama and intrigue, the book makes for a page-turner.
As Good As Can Be
By William A. Glass
Pub date April 14, 2020
Price $13.50 (USD) Paperback, $25.00 Hardcover $7.79 Kindle edition