A stirring, inspiring celebration of friendship…
Wetzel unleashes a searing portrait of enduring male friendship in his poignant debut. It was in high school when five boys: David, Rob, Jesse, Paul, and Jim recognized themselves in one another and became friends. Decades went by and their friendship endured. Getting together annually is one of the traditions the group followed. But this year is different: Jim has organized the trip, finalized the date, booked the spot, and his ragged journal chronicling two decades of their adventures is also ready. The only thing missing is Jim himself. Struggling with their grief, the friends set on their trip to say final goodbye to Jim and spread his ashes and come to a new understanding about their own struggles and their bond with each other. Wetzel skillfully shifts his narrative between different timelines, tracking the friends as they move in different directions through early youth and into adulthood, temporary fissures of their affection, the crises they weather and share with each other, their youthful mistakes, and the chances they take. Though narrative gets hampered by some of the sections unnecessarily protracted, the story is rich and absorbing. Throughout, Wetzel touches on the universal themes of human failures, regrets, individual struggles, friendships and family ties. Wetzel’s portraits of the lasting male bonding are authentic, and his crisp prose effortlessly navigates the stirring thoughts of his characters. The flawed characters readers can relate to, including Jesse, who is reluctant to visit the past, the endearing David with his integrity, work ethics, and understanding, complement the absorbing plot. This riveting account will please readers of enduring friendships stories.
Note: This review was first published on February 22, 2021
Friends in Low Places
By Vince Wetzel
Pub date April 20, 2021
Price $7.97 (USD) Kindle edition