Every now and then I find myself absorbed in a book which is uncannily parallel to my own. Last week while perusing the fiction section of my library, every book I picked up was either a murder mystery, or an oppressed woman’s coming of age depress-fest (woman marries wrong, devastated by pregnancy, life ruined as she watches her best friend have the best life ever with her stout husband who disgusts her kind of deal). Eventually, after countless minutes walking up and down damp and poorly lighted rows, I came across a novel titled Going Postal by Stephen Jaramillo. The initial no holds barred humor and enthusiasm of the synopsis shook me to my creative core. That’s when I knew I had to read it.
In Going Postal we meet our protagonist, Steven. Like myself he is mocked by many over his there’s no way in hell you’re making any money choice of study during college (me: literature, him: philosophy). Despite having dreams of writing the great American novel and ambitions having to do with his personal and spiritual fulfillment, Steven barely manages to keep it together at his bogus job at a bagel shop working for an ego tripping, tyrannical boss (I’ve worked in retail many a time, I know the feeling).
After Steven is fired his life descends into a sad pit of despair in which he fills his days drinking, dreaming up acts of revenge on the girlfriend who just dumped him; aka newly indoctrinated hippie, and eating tainted fast food with his neighbor and best bro Brady. Despite never having fired a gun, or basking in homicidal fantasies, I felt a kinship with this fellow panicked poor writer. Like myself he w’s given to procrastination, drinking massive amounts of coffee, and indulging in delectable baked goods. Oftentimes, his existential crisis is confused for aimlessness and laziness. But how do you convey not wanting the despair of conventional life, yet not knowing how to create the life you want to live?
What I enjoyed most about the book was the protagonist’s lack of knowing exactly what to do. When he first became unemployed, Steven thought of it as a means to figure out what he wanted and needed out of life. Slowly but surely life began to stack up. Bills had to be paid, gas put in his car, and unspoiled food in his belly. Panic set in. The fear of the unknown, the stark nature of failure becoming a palpable reality. Coming from a family where life and career is by the book, Steven wants to flee the tradition of men working at the United States Post Office. Did I mention Steven’s obsession with post office employees killing sprees? In his mind working for the post office is a sure-fire way to lose one’s mind, but it’s very possible he has lost his.
This book was a joy to read. The humor was black and searing, the dialogue quick and animated. I loved it. It’s great coming across a novel where the author takes chances, makes something strange out of the ordinary. So if you’re weary of vegan hippies taking over your neighborhood, have had an insane meth addicted neighbor who was highly entertaining, and are completely hating your life, GO READ IT.