Right from the start of this novel we are thrust into the hardscrabble, hyperventilating lives of Eddie & Sunny. Broke and living out of their car, and with a young son to care for, desperation is beginning to set in. Sunny is about to give birth and yet continues to drink heavily. Eddie can’t find work to support his family. The burdens of their dysfunctional past continue to color their every waking moment. Their present, and future, seems bleak—until an unexpected discovery changes their lives forever and places them on a different path. Success? Or worse?
Cochran’s novel is told in spare, haunting prose that utilizes realistic dialogue to propel the narrative. “He’d never before felt his life was anything other than the lowest form one could know,” Cochran writes of Eddie. This is a resolutely American work, influenced by Steinbeck and George V. Higgins, that besides being a great crime novel also gives the reader insight into the lives of people living at poverty threshhold. The uneducated. The dreamers. Those who want the American dream—Kardashian, Bieber—but lack the pedigree to achieve it in all its glory. There is a scene that stuck with me in this novel, when Eddie & Sunny are forced to split up. Eddie with the drug money and living large. Sunny impoverished and forced to beg and turn a trick. She propositions a John in order to feed her two children and the John agrees. Her one condition, however, is that she gets to call him Eddie. Love. True love in all its pauperized grimness.
Eddie & Sunny is a tough book in many ways, gritty and bleak, but is authentic and hard to put down. Cochran does a wonderful job telling the couple’s story and getting into the minds of these two down-and-outers. In a way they reminded me of a modern day Bonnie and Clyde. This is a fascinating and intelligent book.