My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Initial thoughts: I thought that “Fitz” was an excellent coming of age story with appropriate amounts of tension. It’s about a teenage boy on the edge of breaking without having a father figure in his life. Desperate, Fitz buys a gun, finds his father and holds him at gunpoint, while suggesting that they spend some “quality time” together. What happens from that point is something that neither of them expect – they learn more about each other than they bargained for.
I’m incredibly belated with writing the review on Mick Cochrane’s “Fitz”, partially because I read the book so far before its respective release date as an ARC (I read it in March of 2012, but it wasn’t released until late 2012). Yet, when I consider it now, there’s so much about this novel that I remembered and loved. The story revolves around an angry boy named Fitzgerald, or simply called Fitz for short. He has a love for jazz and singing, he earns good grades. While you would think on the surface this was a normal kid, inside, Fitz has hit his boiling point and feels angry with the state of things in his life. He hides a gun, and while searching for answers in the broken relationship between his mother and father, he decides to search out his father – whom he has never met – and demand answers from him as to why the man isn’t in his life.
I loved Fitz’s narrative voice in this book, and the flow of the writing was so easy in transition from one point to the next, keeping the tension front and center as well as illuminating the relationships between the characters. It’s a coming to terms story as well as incorporates other elements to center around Fitz’s experiences and discoveries. Although this entire story is a glimpse into Fitz’s life for one day when he takes his particularly jarring act of desperation, it provides so much into the eye of the character that I couldn’t draw myself away from it. One of the best things that I took from in this particular work was the fact the author showed Fitz’s internal conflict to a tee – showing the difference between his displayed actions, which engage the push for answers no matter what, and his internal dialogue, which shows he has a stronger moral compass than what his actions would lend.
I think the one thing that I could say that I didn’t completely love was the way the ending came across in comparison to the rest of the novel – I think it tried to tie things off in a conclusive way, but it felt a bit different from the tone of the narrative flow up until that point, which is a shame because the setup and execution through the duration of the novel was very strong and had a darker coloring that didn’t match really how the ending tried to thread those ties together. I think it could’ve been more plausible and more realistic than what it was. I think if that had been a better tie, this would’ve easily been one of my favorite overall picks of the year.
Suffice to say, I did enjoy this novel and appreciated it as a character driven story with a strong narrative voice. It had some bumps in the road, but it was worth following through.
Overall score: 4/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Random House BFYR.