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Silver Screen Videos
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
The plot of Ryan Wiley's novel "Spending Spree" can best be described as one giant plot hook. The narrator of the story finds himself in a seemingly inexplicable situation and the reader wants to know what's actually happening ... even though, in this book, the narrator himself isn't all that interested in getting to the bottom of things.
"Spending Spree" is a variation on a theme that's been around since Aladdin, the story of an ordinary guy who gets access to seemingly endless riches. In this case, the narrator is a 25-year-old loser named Johnny who still lives at home, works at a dead end night job at the local factory, and whose only interest in life is playing video games with his equally big loser friend Dave. Johnny's luck finally changes after his mother takes him to open his first checking account (he had been getting an allowance by his parents) and he subsequently discovers that the balance on the account has mysteriously increased from $150 to $100,000. Not only that, but every day, despite whatever Johnny buys with his new debit card, the account balance resets itself to $100,000.
There's little surprise in what Johnny does next. Egged on by Dave, who despite working as a pizza delivery guy, has grandiose ideas about spending the two go off on a Las Vegas jaunt, complete with gambling, booze, women, and lavish excess. The spending spree lasts for about the first two-thirds of the book, and that part is highly entertaining. Johnny and Dave are still idiots, despite having fistfuls of cash, but they are also blithely unaware of how stupid and dangerous what they're doing is. Readers get a voyeuristic thrill at seeing their excesses play out and also the enjoyment of being several steps ahead of the protagonists in realizing how fleeting their success is likely to be.
The farther the book goes, the more readers become curious to know what's going to happen when the day of reckoning comes. Sadly, when that day comes, the book itself starts to fall apart just as Johnny's good luck does as well. The problem with the book isn't the revelation of how Johnny got the money: that explanation is actually fairly credible within the bounds of this type of a book. Instead, the problem is that Johnny and, especially, Dave suddenly develop a whole lot of common sense, toughness, and sophisticated know how that were completely missing in the first part of the book... or in the first 25 years of their lives for that matter. It's safe to say that the Johnny and Dave who try to get themselves out of trouble in the last part of the book would never have messed up their lives to the extent necessary to get in that trouble in the first place.
Ryan Wiley does something quite rare in the first part of the book... he shows the main characters to be the exact type of poor decision making, shallow, clueless losers they must have been during the first part of their lives. However, at the key moment when Johnny and the readers learn the reasons leading to his sudden fortune, Wiley's resolve falls apart, and Johnny and Dave's characters strengthen at precisely the right time and in the right manner necessary to give them a chance to extricate themselves from the mess. In addition, they take advantage of one enormous coincidence that enables them to contact the one person they need to find in order to get help. Readers can sometimes accept an author pulling strings to try to find a happy ending... if that ending is warranted by the rest of the book. Unfortunately, neither logic nor the nature of Johnny and Dave's characters impels such an ending. The ending feels forced and an unwarranted reward for characters who didn't deserve it.
Movie goers often complain when the adaptation of a book changes the ending to provide the stereotyped "Hollywood ending." In this case, Ryan Wiley has taken two-thirds of a fascinating voyeuristic exploration of the effects of sudden wealth on those unprepared for handling it and then changed the ground rules completely to provide a more upbeat ending than the story deserved. Just like most Las Vegas gamblers, Ryan Wiley should have quit while he was ahead in telling his story.