Holy freezing in May, Batman! The weather this month has been nuts. I didn’t even realize it until now, but The Storm was a great title pick for the last few weeks. We’ve gone from upper 70’s to snow and back again. Anyway, on to The Storm: How Young Men Become Good Men by Dan Blanchard. This was another free Amazon kindle pick and I’m undecided on whether I liked it or not.
The Storm is essentially one very long conversation between a grandfather, Granddaddy, and his teenage grandson, Dakota. During a walk, the two take shelter in a park picnic pavilion to avoid the rain storming around them. As they talk, Granddaddy shares his life secrets for success with Dakota, who has started learning his own lessons through trial and error. While the premise of the book is sweet, the conversation tends to read as a giant checklist of motivational quotes and practices from every great thinker and self-help guru since the dawn of time.
The character development in The Storm is incredibly weak. We learn that Granddaddy fought in WWII, is still married to Dakota’s grandmother and is estranged from his son, who is Dakota’s father, but we never learn much more about him than that. We don’t know why he isn’t actively involved in Dakota’s life. It also bothered me that despite not being around, Granddaddy and Dakota seem to have a strong and open relationship. It also bothered me that Grandma and Mom remained vague mysterious characters who weren’t mentioned, Dad was stereotypical and Big Brother was the martyr hero type. Not even Dakota was fleshed out. We learn he is a high school wrestler dealing with an abusive father and has a pretty girlfriend who tends to be a positive influence. Aside from his wrestling training and occasional references to the difficulties with his dad, Dakota remained very one dimensional and just wasn’t believable as a teenage character.
My biggest pet peeve with the entire book was how unnatural and forced the conversational style between Granddaddy and Dakota felt. Granddaddy would ask Dakota if he knew who Michael Phelps was and instead of answering “yeah” like a normal teenager, Dakota would answer like a Wikipedia entry, “Michael Phelps is US Olympic Swimmer who won 28 medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics”. Multiply that by about a hundred other anecdotes and it got old, quick.
I did enjoy a lot of the quotes in The Storm and I liked the idea of a grandparent sharing so lovingly and openly with their grandchildren. I just wish there would have been some more personality infused into Granddady and Dakota and that their entire history and family line had been really fleshed out.
Overall, the book was a quick read, it just wasn’t very deep or life changing. Going to rate this one somewhere around 2.5 stars.
Until next time, happy reading!