Just before the 2016 US Election, Scott Bonneville walks into a Pizza Galley restaurant to expose a shady operation that allegedly takes place in the basement. But he ends up shooting another gunman already inside threatening the staff for his own reasons. Scott’s “heroic” action starts a #goodguywithagun rabbit hole.
Jeff Chon unravels the lives of different characters affected by the shooting in one way or another. Hashtag Good Guy With a Gun is a biting satire of modern mindsets—male and female, romantic and spiritual, educational and political.
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Flawed and Complex Characters
The debut novel’s driving force are its characters. You’re not meant to like them all, but they do grab your attention as they relay their thoughts and experiences. Scott, for example, comes from a very troubling family that fuels his behaviour and triggers a chain of events.
Some more surreal or harsh than others, each personality offers a unique perspective into happenings and issues. In fact, Hashtag Good Guy With a Gun urges you to grit your teeth and observe uncomfortable but very real mindsets like conspiracy theorists, Incels, and cultists.
Scathing Dissection of Modern Society
Subsequently, this book forces you to acknowledge many things wrong with humanity today. The story’s disjointed structure reflects them too, a jumble of experiences and reports. Just like in reality, it’s not always clear what’s true or false in the plot.
While I often wondered where the plot was actually going, the point of Hashtag Good Guy With a Gun seems to go beyond entertaining the reader. It’s heavy with sociopolitical messages, delivered in the most deliciously caustic ways. Influential literature at its finest.
Questions of Identity and Perspective
There are so many themes to explore in Hashtag Good Guy With a Gun, from the dangers of social media to the subjectivity of history and literature. But the concepts that roar the loudest in this novel revolve around individuality and, especially, masculine identity.
Different people see and experience different, often terrible, things. Some take advantage and go as far as to indoctrinate others into their perception of reality. And all this within a society crippled by a skewed moral and sensical compass. Racism, sexism, toxic masculinity, and more come up throughout the narrative.
Hashtag Good Guy With a Gun is a timely punch in the stomach you can’t ignore. You’ll laugh, scowl, and gasp to the last page, maybe walk away with some new insights about the bizarre and scary world we live in.
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