I wish I could’ve enjoyed Ed Briant’s “I Am (Not) the Walrus” a little more than I did, because the humor and voice of the protagonist – Toby – is very refreshing. I also liked the odes to several Beatles songs and references made through the work. Normally I’m a little put off when there are too many references to music in a work without rhyme or reason, but in this work, it’s clear the Beatles have an influence in the lives of the teens it depicts. There’s a part of me that still wishes it had a little more intimacy with those references, but I liked them in the overarching scheme of the work.
“I Am (Not) the Walrus” was a slice of life story that read slow in spurts. I liked it for what it offered, but I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed when and where it ended. It left quite a few plot threads open and I don’t really know if it’s going to have a follow up to close some of those lingering threads. It made the read less satisfying than it otherwise would’ve been.
Toby’s a teen who plays in a Beatles cover band, and happens upon a special bass that belongs to his brother. When he opens up the bass, Toby realizes that the bass was stolen and sets off on a path to return it to the original owner. It doesn’t come without some odd encounters for Toby, who’s adorably awkward and has a blunt wit that will likely appeal to readers. His friends are interesting, and the love interest, Michelle, is funny and well crafted for the role she plays in the story. However, this book doesn’t really have a lot of closure for some of the relationships and situations. The major journey completes itself, of course – not quite what I expected it to be, but it ended well enough. It’s hard to know what becomes of Toby, his family, and friends in the aftermath of events, though.
I think “I Am (Not) the Walrus” is enjoyable overall, but for me it was a one-time read that didn’t impact me as much as I would’ve liked. I will give it credit for being funny and with likable characters, though.
Overall score: 2.5/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Flux Books.