Between the Bridge and the River by Craig Ferguson
First- I'm a huge Craig Ferguson fan. I must say that right up front. I have read his other book (American on Purpose) and have reviewed it down below. This book was written first. To make this simpler, because I'm going to reference both books- Between the Bridge and the River will be BTBATR and American on Purpose will be AOP.
BTBATR uses a few situations found in AOP, so if you enjoyed Killer Ducks on acid and depressing Scottish schools that encouraged beatings, then you will see them again. BTBATR gives some of Craig's life experiences to several different characters, so after reading AOP, this book has a bit of familiarity. If you read the books in the opposite (probably correct) order, you would get that "behind the scenes" feeling you get with the special features on a DVD.
BTBATR follows four people: two American brother Saul and Leon who grow up abused and run away from their group home to fall in with a snake handling religious tent show; and George and Fraser, two Scottish boys who grew up as friends then parted ways around 14 or so. I recognized Fraser as a reflection of Craig, and see George as who Craig would have been if he had made other life choices- staying in school, going to college, being boring and respectable. These three stories intertwine, voyage apart, then come back together in tangents, tangles, and then meet in dream sequences. Yes, there are dream sequences, near death experiences, a ghostly Carl Jung, and an overt view of religion as a soulless money making business, and a covert pondering of religion as personal spirituality.
BTBATR is not a light summer read, but it's one of those books you think about later. It's clever, downright funny in parts, but don't expect to laugh through it. There are small bits cleverly placed to keep this from being too heavy. And those of us who are fans will recognize 100% Craig touches. There are the occasional asides where you hear Craig talking directly to you, explaining something in the book. There are parables. There is sex. Blunt and direct, no euphemism-type sex. Funny, sad, touching, mechanical sex. The way it really is.
This book is even better if you are well read. There are references you might not get otherwise. The current references that needed to be changed to stop lawsuits are worth looking for- like Peephole Magazine. Craig Ferguson describes this book as "dirty.' I don't think so. There is a lot of sex in it, and it's described as these men would. It's honest. This is a book about redemption. That's honest too.