Don't know what to make of this book. Picaresque very long story of a week in the life of a recovering-alcoholic and non-recovering-codependent boy in 1973. There's a lot of material about _The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn_ and the n-word, so that makes me think John Barnes is saying that because this is a historical novel readers should be okay with seeing the words "f#ggot," "fairy," "h#mo," etc. every few pages and hearing the narrator's homophobic thoughts, because the book's virtue is hyper-realism, and anyway the gay character is the M/C's best friend although he does beat him up the one time. Same with word "r#tarded" on a smaller scale. I liked parts of this novel. It does feel very real. There are a lot of very flawed characters who have redeeming qualities. This is the 4th John Barnes book I have read and now I feel drained and have lost my enthusiasm for him, but your mileage may vary. I don't think this was quite the book for me.