Friday, June 17, 2016

Review: Shotgun Lovesongs

When their friend Kip gets married, Hank, Leland, and Ronny come together to celebrate. But things have changed since the boys were inseparable in childhood. Kip left their hometown of Little Wing, Wisconsin to trade commodities and returned unsure of his future. Hank never left and farms the land his father farmed before him, as he makes a life with his wife Beth and their children. Leland is now a famous musician with the money and groupies to go with it. But he finds himself longing for the simplicity of home. Ronny was a rising star on the rodeo circuit until an accident took away his chance at success and forever changed him. The reunion between the friends will force them to discover if things can ever really go back to the way they were, when their futures were bright and friendship was taken for granted.

I feel like I've read many books like this, but the difference here is that the characters (and author) are male. Of course, much to the chagrin of male-only book clubs everywhere, this doesn't mean that the heart of the story is much different. These are still people trying to find a place to call home, a job that fulfills them, and friends and family who will always be there for them.

Nickolas Butler does a wonderful job of writing place. Little Wing, Wisconsin seems like a town you could actually visit and see the miles of farmland, stare up at the deserted mill towering over the town, and have a beer at the VFW. This is apparently because Butler based it on his own experiences growing up alongside his friends in the small town of Eau Claire.

Shotgun Lovesongs is a book about going to your best friend's house for dinner, taking your girlfriend to see the town where you grew up, and watching a sunrise with the people who know you best. Henry, Kip, Ronny, and Leland learn that adult relationships are hard: they take a level of care and commitment that the friendships of our youth never did. As the characters look for the places and people that mean home for them, the reader feels like they are home too.

Shotgun Lovesongs
Nickolas Butler
Thomas Dunne Books March 2014
320 pages
From my shelves


  1. What a great title! That alone would make me want to read this book. :)

    1. It is a fantastic title! In the book, it's the title of Leland's debut album that propels him to fame.