In Jeff Strand’s novel, How You Ruined My Life, Rod Conklin has a pretty great life. He does well in school, gets along with his Mom, has a great girlfriend, and plays in a punk rock band that has a standing gig. It’s a life any sixteen year old would love. Rod knows what he has and is a pretty happy guy.
Until the arrival of his cousin Blake. Rod’s not too keen about sharing his room for three months, but he figures he can stand it. After all, they could turn out to be best buds. And Blake will only be around for three months. Yeah, Rod can hack it.
Except, it turns out Rod can’t handle it. About fifteen minutes into the visit, it’s off to a bad start. Blake treats Rod like the hired help. Rod sets boundaries that Blake ignores. Blake takes over Rod’s bed and Rod gets the air mattress. Blake is rude to Rod and charming to everyone else. Two-faced is a pretty good description of good ole’ cousin Blake.
All these little petty territorial items could possibly be ironed out until Blake throws rat guts into his own face and frames Rod for the deed. In two weeks, Blake has undone everything that Rod holds dear–Rod’s relationship with his girlfriend Audrey goes bust, his reputation at school is shot, and most importantly, his own band, Fanged Grapefruit, has given him the shove.
What else can Blake do to wreak Rod’s life? Can Rod find a way to retaliate that will wring the apology from Blake that Rod craves? Can the cousins find anyway to connect that won’t leave them lunging at each other’s throats?
Told from a first person viewpoint with a lot of asides, the book is pretty funny. And if you like slapstick comedy, this book has many cringeworthy moments that will leave you wincing with sympathy as Rod’s live unravels. This ebook is available for free with your library card through the new LIBBY app. Call your local Augusta-Richmond County library branch if you have any questions about setting up an account or downloading materials.