The Delivery Man
The Delivery Man is the story of Chase, a twenty-something guy living in Las Vegas. The book switches between Chase’s present day life and flashbacks from his tragic Las Vegas childhood. The Delivery Man is Joe McGinniss Jr.’s first book, and while I enjoyed his writing style, I hope he does better with the plot on his next attempt.
The book starts out with Chase spending a typical night out with his friends, Hunter and Michele. Michele is Chase’s childhood friend and currently works as a hooker. Hunter is a wannabe actor who works as a pirate at one of the Las Vegas hotels. While it is apparent that all three have dabbled in drugs, Michele is the only one who has an obvious cocaine habit.
On this particular night, Chase is feeling anxious because his girlfriend Julia is coming to visit. Julia attends grad school in California, but there’s going to be an MBA conference in Las Vegas, so she will be in town for a week. At one point, Chase states that he does not feel he’s good enough for Julia because he’s a high school art teacher and not the successful artist he longs to be. Let’s go over that again.
Hanging out with junkies and hookers doesn’t make Chase feel like he’s wasting his life, but being a high school art teacher does. Luckily, Chase doesn’t have to worry about his embarrassing job for too long, because he gets fired for getting into a fistfight with a student. Free now to pursue his art career without any pesky job getting in the way, Chase takes the next logical step. He starts driving Michele around to her various johns, because nothing screams “Artist!” quite like “Hooker Chauffer.”
Anyway, a bunch of stuff happens after that: Michele steals money from her pimp/boyfriend, Julia gets pregnant, Chase gets beat up, there are a lot of drugs and sex with underage girls. I’m sure it’s all supposed to be really gritty and thrilling. Unfortunately, the whole thing comes off as more exhausting then exciting.
The biggest problem is the main character. It’s hard to feel anything for Chase because, well, he’s a loser. He’s weak and whiney, and after the first few chapters you stop caring what happens to him because it’s pretty obvious that Chase himself doesn’t even care. I could have even dredged up some sympathy if he’d been doing the best he could or was the victim of circumstance - if he were hardworking, but stuck in a dead end job due to lack of higher education and money, for example. This is not the case though. Chase has a college degree and a respectable job, but chooses to hang around with people that do nothing but drag him back into the trashy, pathetic world of his childhood.
A story about the "have-nots" can be eye-opening and emotional. A story about the "choose-nots" is just annoying.