Daniel Garrison’s Drifting in the Push is a loosely organized, fast-paced memoir, tracing the author’s manic, comic adventures on the road less traveled.
Dan, the narrator, traces his journey from boyhood to early manhood, in settings from Oregon and Colorado, to Alaska and Mexico. Recurring characters include childhood friends Bryan and Shane, and a dog named Hank. Fate is a character of sorts, since much of what happens to Dan is unplanned and inadvertent. Some of Dan’s misadventures, however, are self-inflicted.
One story involves trying to refurbish a $75 dollar a month cabin in the dead of winter. Repairing plumbing becomes a nightmare: “Time didn’t matter in the crawlspace anyway. It was an uncaring black coffin of agony.” What follows, from walls of frozen excrement to setting himself on fire, will have readers slapping foreheads. The writing is excellent. Garrison’s prose is clean, funny, and often touching.
It’s difficult to tell how much (if any) of the book is fiction and how much is a memoir. Doesn’t matter—the stories have the authenticity one attributes to real events, and the narrative drive associated with the very best fiction.
Drifting in the Push was published by Tongue & Groove Publishing, located in Oregon. Garrison’s story ends somewhat abruptly, but a sequel is currently in the works. I intend to read it. (Five stars out of five)