HERE’S WALDO, by Nick Olson [2020]

R. Tim Morris’s Rating: 6/10

Here’s Waldo is an admirable first novel from Nick Olson, who is not disguising the fact that most of the story is based on his childhood/life experiences. If even HALF of these events are true, I want to give Olson a big hug and tell him I’m proud of him for how well he came out of it all. Our protagonist, Waldo Collins, has a LOT of shitty things happen to him in this story. Crap, I wanted to give HIM a hug, too.

There’s a lot of wet-behind-the-ears, first-time author moments in the novel. Sometimes it felt like the angsty, spewing of thoughts from a childhood-done-wrong, where Waldo is often more of a character who tragic things happen TO, rather than things happening because of his choices.

Minor nitpicks:
-The book is divided into 3 Parts, though Parts 1 & 2 don’t necessarily have a clear break.
-The story is told from an older Waldo’s POV, though sometimes the past is jarringly interrupted by the present, and can be a bit confusing.
-Also, there are a few sporadic “Interludes” where we are given some insight from some of the book’s secondary characters, which, although wonderfully written, felt a little out of place.

Overall, Here’s Waldo gives us some really nicely written, observational moments; often these are melancholic thoughts & feelings we can all relate to. I’ll definitely keep my eye on Nick Olson’s future works.

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