What is success? Is it billions of dollars in the bank? Is it a good relationship with your son? Maybe it is connecting with the common man, the one-eyed Mexican man who sleeps on your shoulder on the Greyhound bus. For Barry, “the friendliest guy on the Street,” the challenge of connecting with his autistic son is just too much. Lost to drunkenness on 20k dollar whiskey and tricked by his neighbor into bragging about his hedge fund scam money, Barry panics. Fight turns to flight and the next thing Barry knows he’s throwing up in a Greyhound bus station waiting for the next bus out of his current life.
Barry runs from his inability to connect with his wife and his autistic son. However, as we get to know Barry we see many of the autistic traits in his child, the obsessions and lack of social ability, mirrored in Barry. Barry is running from his own nature and the fabricated story of “Barry” he’s spun. He desperately believes in himself and yet can’t trust any of his finance experiences. Only the land of the Greyhound bus and the people he meets along the way are really real. Even as his strange journey unfolds Barry knows he’ll be telling this story the rest of his life.
If you enjoy “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “American Psycho” you’ll enjoy this novel. I found myself cringing and laughing at every step of Barry’s journey. Barry tries so hard, believes in himself so fully, that his action are horribly exposing yet loveable. If you’ve ever liked “Curbed” you’ll enjoy this fun, interesting, and insightful read about a self-taught “American Psycho” with the heart of a crack smoking teddy bear.
For all the awkwardness throughout Barry’s journey, the ending is satisfying and sweet, an after dinner chocolate and coffee that soothes the stomach. Barry’s redemption is possible, but maybe not in the wholesome American bus trip philosophy he imagines.