Stockboy Nation is the present-day story of a forty-year-old man named Phillip Doherty. Phillip is a bit of a lost soul who is trying so desperately to find himself. Phillip and his girlfriend Melissa decide to move from New York City to San Diego to explore new avenues. Melissa has always supported Phillip’s desires to be a writer and a teacher and finds herself disappointed when Phillip gives up and goes to apply to become a stock boy at a store called Milton’s World of Fun that sells books, candy, keychains, and other novelty items. He had worked at Milton’s World of Fun in New York and had written an autobiographical account of his experiences there which was very successful. Phillip’s second project was a work of fiction, a fantasy novel, that did not have the same success as his first book. Throughout the book, we follow Phillip as he finds himself in one dilemma after another because he is extremely indecisive and the decisions he does make are not well thought out.
Overall, the story started out promising, with Melissa being Phillip’s biggest support system and Phillip really trying hard to figure out what it is that he wants for himself and his future. As the story moves forward, Phillip seems to become more and more of a loser, and this is also proven in the writing when the author seems to dictate Phillip’s juvenile way of thinking. I felt bad for Phillip, but he was such an oddball misfit that it was hard to empathize with him because at times he would just say the most awkward and stupid things. When he goes on job interviews I could almost imagine the interviewer rolling her eyes at him because his answers are so overthought and obvious that it made him seem like an imbecile.
Stockboy Nation would have been a lot better if the writing was a little more mature. It could have used some description of the two contrasting cities, New York and San Diego, as well as not stating so much of the obvious and instead painting a picture for the reader of what is going on inside the heads of the characters. The dialogue between characters seemed to repeat itself over and over which became boring. I think the author has a good baseline for a story, but the descriptions and true feelings of the characters really need to be dealt with better. A good story that needs to be rewritten to be great.
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