My Name is Russell Fink; Michael Snyder
Zondervan - 2008
Twenty-six year old Russell Fink, the neurotic protagonist of this novel is a character reader's will not easily forget. He sells office supplies, a job he hates, lives with his alcoholic mother and televangelist father who he also has issues with. He also has a brother, a gambler, who he allows to take advantage of him. Oh, and he has an (ex) fiancee who is a piece of work as well.
The faithful, love of Russell's life is Sonny, an elderly Bassett Hound who is fond of vodka-dipped dog biscuits, and just might be a tad clairvoyant. When Sonny ends up dead, Russell is certain he's been murdered and he's determined to find Sonny's killer.
If this book sounds a bit over the top, it really is. Russell carries a lot of baggage and guilt. He fears that he was the reason his young sister died of cancer when they were small, and he's sure he'll leave this earth the same way his sister did.
A funny, yet feel good debut novel, I found myself both laughing and rooting for Russell Fink, a lost soul who is just trying to find his place in the world. I enjoyed Russell's journey of self-discovery, but the ending just seemed a bit too rushed. Still a fun read overall. Readers who need a good laugh, and enjoy quirky characters and family dysfunction might enjoy this one as well.
I was surprised to read, after finishing this book that Zondervan is a Christian Publishing group and a subsidiary of Harper Collins. Other than the fact Russell's father was a televangelist, this book did not feel at all preachy.