Wesley Weimer, a twice-divorced prison guard and failed father of two, realizes that his life has grown lifeless. Child support payments suck him dry and so he’ll never finish that degree. Most of his free time is spent tending to his crippled mother or else writhing through painful visits with his children.
So with Christmas right around the corner, Wesley persuades a prisoner to strangle him for ten thousand dollars—this way, at least his kids can cash in on the life insurance. The only problem is, he doesn’t have ten thousand dollars…
Armacost creates a compelling dark noir story with a protagonist pulling at your emotions. He is direct in addressing the depths of depression and suicidal thoughts.
We are introduced to Wesley Weimer, a correctional officer through a gritty confessional lens of depression. Weimer has his share of disappointments, failed dreams, situations out of his control and of course his share of mistakes. He reached the point of failing to see any goodness and feels suicide is his only recourse to end his suffering.
“I have this fantasy,” he says, “where I’m woven in a circle of friends who talk the way people talk over dinner in Woody Allen films, with that sublime witty banter and those heady insights into the crevices of life.”
Armacost pulled off first person narration with ease, this isn’t a happy read, rather a portrait of the recesses of depressions stealth clutches and the hopelessness one feels. It’s raw, affecting and empathetic.
I kept hoping Wesley would try and realize things could be worse, to try and focus on the little things in life. As Wesley’s story unfolds, you find his outlook is dimmed and he fails to see the light in the abyss of his obsidian tunnel of despair. His desire to commit suicide left me feeling helpless and frustrated. I found myself wrapped up in his story and my emotions were fully invested in this man’s life. I saw a glimpse of myself in Wesley as many will when they read this book. It’s not easy dusting yourself off after unexpected blow after blow life delivers, but we do by working at happiness. Pause and enjoy the moment and realize things will eventually improve. Life is a challenge, fix what you can and work on what’s out of your control. Do your best, all anyone can do. All this evoked from Armacost’s sensitive story, a sign of a talented writer.
A dark noir fiction, with plenty of sarcasm and humor with an endearing character facing a sensitive and avoided topic. Hardcore look into depression from a writer fully capable of presenting this challenging subject with ease, honesty and respect.