From the publisher: Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated is a classic coming-of-age story that takes a unique and comic look at what we all fear - - having to grow up and abandon our dreams. For a charismatic man like Lucas James, life is a breeze because everyone else provides the wind. This man-child front man for a mediocre cover band has been mooching off of his fiancée Jackie for years until she finally decides she’s had enough. Faced with the reality of having no income to support his carefree lifestyle, Lucas James abandons his principles and gets a job working in the stockroom at “That Store.” How does he cope with this newfound sense of responsibility? He casually steals. In a life spent bucking authority how will Lucas James deal with his manager, ‘Victor the Dictator?’ How long can he survive Ralph, a starry-eyes coworker who desires nothing more than to be best friends? Will Lori, a twenty-something cashier, be like everyone else and fall for his charm? Will he ever find a place to live? And is “growing up” just another way of saying “Selling out ?”
We are told, frequently, beginning on the first page, that the focus of the book is on Lucas James, and the book is told in his first person p.o.v. (We are told on the second page that “it’s all a circle.”) He thinks of himself as a “healer of the stick, savior of the masses. That’s what I do, that’s who I am.” He also thinks of himself as a “genial, get-along-with-everyone, life-of-the-party, hero-to-the-masses, humble kind of guy.” When Jackie, the woman he’s been involved with for six years and who has been wearing his engagement ring, returns it and tells him that it was time to start a new life , without him, it knocks him for a loop. He is now alone in the apartment they have been sharing for four and a half years [on the top floor of a three-story walk-up [34 steps,we are told]. When he goes out to get a 9 to 5 job after Jackie, who had until now been paying the monthly rent, when the three men who had previously employed him, and who he had known for years, willingly agreed to go along with whatever ham-hocked reality he had conjured up – “after all, these men were my best friends, and if you can’t rely on your best friends to enter into a fantasy world with you, then you truly live a sad and sorry life.” He also lives by the philosophy that something is “not a lie if you believe it.”
The novel, seen from inside the mind of Lucas James, is by turns fascinating, disconcerting, and immensely enjoyable. I must admit I loved it when, in his Acknowledgements, the author states “Thanks to the New York Mets. You’re going to kill me one day and I’m cool with it,” a mind frame with which I’m embarrassed to admit I totally concur.