Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

This seemingly ordinary memoir takes a messianic turn.

The most striking thing about the first half of Chally’s debut is how not striking it is. In a series of readable, straightforward chapters, he tells the story of his first 34 years, from birth in Illinois to youth in Iowa. The narrative expands in 1988, when settling a petty larceny offense prompted him to take the option of entering the military; he was then stationed in Germany in support of Operation Desert Shield, then Operation Desert Storm. Chally met a young woman named Patricia and married her in Iowa in 1991, and they began to raise a family. He writes about the pain of losing his grandfather and the turtles and snakes he saw in the Mojave Desert; in a friendly but unremarkable way, he recounts such everyday things as working construction, going to rock concerts, getting a tattoo, being a young father, playing video games, and so on. Trouble gathers at the peripheries of his story: casual mentions of a sleepless week high on crystal meth, for instance, or mounting problems with the IRS over a large debt. Gradually, Chally approached rock bottom and was charged with public intoxication, at which point he reached out for support: “I then picked up the Bible and was asking God for help.” So far, it’s a narrative as old as Saint Augustine. But as Chally commenced studying the Bible, his life took a new, bizarre direction. He began seeing visions and delved deeply into the various numerological arcana of biblical writing. Not much later, he came to think of himself as an anointed messiah, a Chosen One bearing witness to mankind. His family members intervened and took him to the hospital, where, at the age of 35, he underwent a battery of psychological exams, the outcomes of which he faithfully reproduces here. The result is a curious dual narrative: on one side, the author steadfastly proclaiming himself to be mankind’s savior, a direct channel of God’s will; on the other side, a straightforward presentation of all the personal, psychological, and pharmacological reasons the world might disbelieve every word herein.

A strange, split memoir.

 

Reader’s Favorite Book Review

 


– Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers’ Favorite

The Beeping Brothers Road To Success by Scott Chally is weird, funny, and wonderful. I laughed from start to finish. Not every author can write a novel like this. I think Scott Chally must be a natural. This is a story about life in all its uncut glory. It made me laugh, but it also made me think. It reminds me of the writing of Kurt Vonnegut Jr. It is a buddy novel with some satire and irony thrown in for good measure. It is for mature audiences, but to be honest, I read novels in this vein when I was a teenager and I found them very helpful in helping me understand the world around me. The Beeping Brothers Road To Success is the kind of novel that touches on things that I just didn’t discuss with my parents. The writing is what makes The Beeping Brothers Road To Success so good. The characters are good. I especially like the friendship between the two boys. It made me think of my best high school friend. The plot is roughly based on real life in small town America, but with a lot of humor and wonder mixed in. The setting is done well and it all comes together to make a very good novel. I hope to read more from Scott Chally in the future. His is a unique voice that could make a great contribution to American literature if it is given the right guidance and encouragement. You don’t want to miss this one.

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