Reviews > Published on June 16th, 2015

Bookshots: 'Here Are The Young Men' by Rob Doyle

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


Here Are The Young Men

Who wrote it?

Perhaps the real fear is that no matter what, eventually everything will go back to how it was.

Debut novelist Rob Doyle. He has a second novel, This Is The Ritual, which comes out in 2016.

Plot in a Box:

Matthew, Kearney, Rez, and Cocker are free from school's clutches, but have no idea what to do with that freedom. They drink and smoke while they wonder what the next step is, but which is the right step to take when you barely want to walk through the door? In each boy's struggle to get by, there are stumbles and there are falls. Big falls.

Invent a new title for this book:

Youth Is Wasted

Read this if you like:

Bret Easton Ellis, darker YA novels, Chuck Palahniuk.

Meet the book’s lead:

The book jumps from boy to boy, but we mostly hear from Matthew, a recent high school graduate. He doesn't have much direction, aside from wanting to date a girl named Jen and get drunk/high with his friends.

Said lead would be portrayed in a movie by:

Will Poulter

Setting: would you want to live there?

Dublin, Ireland. I would love to visit, but the weather would bum me out if I moved there.

What was your favorite sentence?

I might save up for a while and go away, travel or live abroad or something, maybe drink myself to death in Mexico, like some French novel that Rez would read.

The Verdict: 

At first it was difficult to get into the world of Matthew, Kearney, Rez, and Cocker, not only because they made bad decisions, but also because Doyle has written a calculated sense of distance into his narrative. Like Matthew overtaken with emotion after too many beers, there were moments when I felt like I was almost allowed inside, only to be shut out again once the characters woke up somewhat sober. Despite this, the device was so well constructed throughout the novel that I remained hooked, hoping to be granted access to the minds of these characters at some point.

I learned the most about Kearney, whose sections of the book that come after his visit to his brother in the United States hold nothing back. He is by far the most perverse, psychopathic one of the group. He causes the most trouble. He terrifies and alienates his own friends. Character-wise, Kearney is a risk, and it pays off. Frighteningly, though he is an extreme, he is not an exaggeration. I clung to Matthew as my moral compass. When he started to lose control, I did as well. Luckily, I was able to safely observe Kearney with disgusted curiosity. His actions throughout the book had me reacting audibly. You've been warned!

Overall, I was impressed with Rob Doyle's debut novel and will definitely be picking up his second book when it comes out next year. Here Are The Young Men is presented as a confession. In the end, the lives of the four boys are changed, but are they changed forever? Perhaps the real fear is that no matter what, eventually everything will go back to how it was.

About the author

Christine J. Schmidt is a writer originally from New Jersey. After receiving her BFA in Dramatic Writing from SUNY Purchase, she worked at Seattle Repertory Theatre as their artistic literary intern. She recently left Brooklyn, where she was a bookseller and events host at WORD, to reside in Los Angeles. She has previously written for New York Theatre Review, and her plays have been read and produced at theaters in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Washington. Coffee is her favorite thing.

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