Eli Cochran is your average, spunky young adult. He comes from an average family, and might appear even to blend into the vast majority of people within his demographics. However, when you look closer you see a young man struggling to stay afloat. One minute he is being hired for a wonderful position after receiving his bachelors degree, the next minute he is waking up in jail. His sudden bursts of rage and craze also set him apart from your average Joe. His journey through young adulthood takes you on a remarkable adventure that shows relationships, family, finances, and success are all in someway dependent on his addiction and current mental state, whatever that state might be at any given time. When he reaches his thirties he realizes that all the hard work and education he has is doing nothing for him. He is nothing. Finally, there comes a time when Eli wants help. He realizes he is older, fatter, and that one more wrong move could kill him. As he embarks on his journey of recovery, we delve in even deeper to who he is and how he became a man he loathes.
As I started this book, I did not know what to expect. Most of us have had some exposure to books about coming of age as well as battling mental illness. This is a tough subject to navigate. What is an even heftier challenge is executing a narration of someone journeying through mental illness of some sort. However, Alex de Schweinitz did an excellent job at portraying this feeling. He truly grabbed my attention and pulled me into this book. At first, I felt that the writing was very dizzying and threw me in many different directions. I found myself reading things over again and feeling a bit crazy.Then it dawned on me that I felt crazy, just like Eli. Genius! Brilliant! This was the point in The Deadender where I really connected. I started to think less of Eli as a crazy kid that needed some serious help and more as a lost soul who was going through something that any one of us could go through. As far as I’m concerned the only main character in this book is Eli. All of the other characters ended up feeling minuscule in my mind. I believe this was caused by how deep I was inside the alcoves of Eli’s mind. Every other person in the story was somewhere in the background. It wasn’t until Eli started to change that the dialogue within the story also started to change. This is when I felt other characters held more of a presence in the story. Overall, this is an easy and enjoyable read. However, you must be ready for an emotional journey through Eli’s ups and downs- and as I mentioned prior, they can become quite dizzying- in the best literary way possible, that is.
Alex de Schweinitz