Well, the title pretty much sums up this adventure novel. Told in the first person, this is a story of a man fighting his way through drug use, crime, friendship, and revenge to find himself and the purpose of his life.
“Sins may be the most interesting aspect of the human character. Without our sins, we would all just be a bleak mass of grey conformity, doomed to a lifetime of boredom and single mindedness.” says Ryan Vanderford in his book, and he gives us a generous representation of the many forms of human sin. So, The Reptile: One Man’s Story of Drug Use, Crime, Friendship, and Revenge is a captivating nonconformist account of an American life.
A professional car thief, Roy, will indulge the reader with a personal narrative of his life. He uses drugs in order to quiet down the unbearable noise in his head, he uses drugs to numb an overactive mind. His thoughts and reflections on the modern society only cause him pain and frustration as he acknowledges that he is unable to cause the change he desperately desires. According to the novel, there is a delimitation between drug use and drug abuse. Roy has a utilitarian approach to using substances, and he is careful not to surrender the control of his own life to drugs. But he is repulsed by those who surrender to drugs, by those who abuse these substances.
With a troubling family history and a dear friend, who fell a victim to drug abuse after he came out of prison, Roy soon finds himself being lured further in the depths of a dark and lawless life. The man who is responsible for Roy and his friend Aiden’s fall is Victor, also known as the Reptile. But the reason for their descent is a noble one, it is friendship. However, once they get involved in an unfortunate series of events, they find it difficult to get out.
America might be the land of dreams, but sometimes these dreams are nightmares. The Reptile: One Man’s Story of drug Use, Crime, Friendship, and Revenge is more than an adventure novel, it is a harsh critique of the modern system. Roy, enthusiastically shares his views and some of those thoughts, which at times overwhelm him. So, the reader is forced to reflect on Roy’s opinions and on the state of modern society.
At the beginning, the pace of the novel is rather slow and the focus is on the inner-universe of the main character, Roy. However, as pages flow by, the overall dynamic will speed up. There is a lot of action, but the author does not neglect the dialogue. His characters talk realistically and naturally. Although some strong language is used at times, it is nothing too harsh and is not overused. After all, this only adds authenticity to the story. Ryan Vanderford proves to be a very visual author, he draws moving and disturbing pictures throughout the book.
Overall, The Reptile: One Man’s Story of Drug Use, Crime, Friendship, and Revenge by Ryan Vanderford is not a comforting book, it is a book that challenges the reader to question the present and look for answers.