Took a departure from my stack of women’s fiction this summer to take a bite out of Benji Carr’s Impacted (pun very much intended). First of all, I met Benji years ago at a fiction writing class we both took at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta. Benji was a master of voice then and his debut novel proves he’s got the chops (the dental puns are just too fun!).
Impacted is a darkly comic coming-of-age story focused on seventeen-year-old Wade who just can’t seem to get it together. Torn between his ongoing, illicit affair with his handsome dentist and the mother of his new baby living with him in his mom’s basement, every move he makes seems to dig him deeper into trouble. Most teenagers struggle with where their life is headed, but Wade’s seems intent to drive his off the rails and see what remains when the wreckage clears.
There are so many twists and turns in this novel that I dare not say too much to give anything away. So, let me simply say, the characters are voicey as all get out and driven by disparate motivations that could complicate Wade’s life at every turn. There’s the hunky delivery man, Trevor. The knows-too-much dental assistant, Celeste. Mary, Wade’s widowed mother who wants desperately to find the best way to connect with her son. Wade’s dramatic girlfriend, Jessa, and sweet baby Lydie who softens every scene she appears in just enough, like the subtle newborn scent wafting off her head.
This book is perfect for fans of dark humor, coming-of-age stories, and maybe folks who already have a distaste for their dentist. I may never look at mine the same again!