This is one of the novels I really like: simple, no fripperies, simple people with a simple life. Of this current I love Shotgun lovesongs (read my review here), all Kent Hruf's novels (read the reviews here and here). I really liked The free too for the same reasons; there is a lot of sadness and tragedy in it, illnesses and drugs and poverty, but also a sense of hope and of people being kind to each other.
It is not a and-they-lived-happily-ever-after kind of novel, but it is a book that really makes you think about what is important in life.
Highly recommend it and I will surely read more by Willy Vlautin.
Overall rating: 7,5 Plot: 7,5 Writing style: 7 Cover: 7
Title: The free
The Plot:Severely wounded in the Iraq war, Leroy has lived a half-life in a group home for eight years. Unable to bear it any longer, he commits a desperate act which helps him to disappear to another place. Freddie is the night porter at the home, who works two jobs yet can't make ends meet. Buried in debt from his younger daughter's medical bills, he's forced to consider a criminal proposition. Pauline is the nurse who tends Leroy, who lives her life in an uncomplicated way, emotionally removed, until she meets a young runaway.
Willy Vlautin has published five novels, THE MOTEL LIFE, NORTHLINE, LEAN ON PETE, THE FREE, and DON’T SKIP OUT ON ME. THE MOTEL LIFE was turned into a major motion picture starring Kris Kristofferson and Emile Hirsch in 2012. Vlautin lives outside of Portland, Oregon and is the founding member of the bands Richmond Fontaine and The Delines.