Life is Bullshit…Then You Die (We Are The Ants – A Book Review)

We Are the Ants
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Published: 2016

On Goodreads

My Rating:

Rated O for out of this world emotions, and the end of the world…or is it?

There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.

For a few years now, Henry Denton has been getting abducted by aliens and they’ve been preparing him and trying to get him ready to make a tough choice. To save or not save the world. There are now 144 days until said end and Henry isn’t feeling like saving the world. Why bother?

Life hasn’t been great for Henry. Everything around him is proving that maybe the world needs a do-over. His mom is struggling with work as a waitress. His brother is a jobless jerk. His grandmother is forgetting who he is altogether as her Alzheimer’s worsens. Also, Henry is still dealing with the grief of his boyfriend’s suicide. Yet, Henry works to make this tough choice based on logic rather than emotion. Listing both pro and cons to saving the world as he asks those around him about this very predicament, Henry gains insight he never expected. So, does he save the world, or sit back and watch it get destroyed?

Yes. YES. Y-E-S! Aliens! LOL! The premise that Henry was regularly getting abducted was initially what drew me in with the cracked heart of discord right behind it. Bringing up suicide is hard as hell. There’s something so rattling that comes from a person strong enough to take their own life, and also a heartache that ripples out and touches everyone in that person’s life. Now, I know you think it’s weird that I say you have to be strong to do something like that rather than weak or distraught, but being capable of that is scary. It isn’t somebody else or a disease, but you take yourself out of the equation of life by sheer force of will. It’s heartbreaking and completely world-shattering. Hutchinson taking on the POV of somebody so deeply close to somebody who went through that and their innermost emotions and thoughts is intense and just made me break apart. It’s not an easy thing to handle and that’s the point. So very well expressed. Poignant and utterly exceptional while also being explosive at times. It tugged at my heart in so many different areas, not just this one, though this was a very large part.

Not only dealing with grief from something as devastating as this, but Henry has his own mental health to handle and come to terms with and it’s one hell of a moving journey. As he struggled with depression and trying to figure out whether the world deserved saving or not, I began to question the aliens and if the world was really in danger of being destroyed. Was it possible that it was just Henry’s world that may have been coming to an end and that’s what the count down meant? It’s hard to say. Though, I personally find the idea of a destructo-ed world more entertaining to be honest. Call me morbid. LOL. Also, the blurbs on Henry’s guesses about how the world would rip apart? Genius and fun!

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Each character brought unique aspects about their worldviews and sometimes we all should step back and do this. It’s such a universal feel and not a bad thing to contemplate. I admire that Henry did that with the those around him rather than just destroying the world. Finding the reasoning is important. It’s a purpose we all have within us. The great search for the meaning of life per se.

Diego is one fine specimen. Totally rounded out inside and out and is just what Henry needs. Not going to lie, really wishing he existed. He’s got faults like any other person and the traits he carries such as his love for art and the ability to see outside of the norm is out of this world. I’m just very in love with this character. LOL.

Moving on, the structure and style of Hutchinson has always been, in a sense, laid back, though it carries the heavy weight of the topics he pursues. It’s incredibly engaging, especially the moments of relieving humor that allowed me to connect with the book and enjoy it even more. He left so much room for enigmatic wonderment. There aren’t answers to be found about the big questions. Just the knowledge that everybody is asking the same questions and that everybody has their own differentiating thoughts that go with them. Also, in the grand scheme? We are pretty much ants. How fecking scary is that shit? LOL.

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Side Note: Did you check out that book cover! SPECTACULAR!

Overall

Did I enjoy this book? Love it? Find the sheer entertainment I always seek that also entails deeper meaning? DID I EVER! I really loved this as much as I loved The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried (review here). Perfection. This book was grand in illuminating important subjects that many people think about and go through as well as keeping it alight in humor. Truly phenom. Read. This.

Quotables:

“Life is bullshit.” (p. 1)

“Sometimes I think gravity may be death is disguise. Other times I think gravity is love, which is why love’s only demand is that we fall.” (Henry, p. 6)

“Sometimes you have to learn to adjust your expectations to survive.” (Diego, p. 92)

“You can’t fight gravity. Gravity is love. Love requires us to fall. Anyway, I couldn’t have reached the escape velocity required to break free of Diego even if I’d wanted to.” (Henry, p. 288)

“We’re not words, Henry, we’re people. Words are how others define us, but we can define ourselves any way we choose.” (Diego to Henry, p. 317)

“Depression isn’t a war you win. It’s a battle you fight every day. You never get to stop, never get to rest. It’s one bloody fray after another…” (Audrey to Henry, p. 328)

“The universe may forget us, but it doesn’t matter. Because we are the ants, and we’ll keep marching on.” (p.451)

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

P.S. Song today? It’s The End Of The World As We Know It by R. E. M.

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