A Quick, Quirky Romp

How You Ruined My Life, by Jeff Strand

Rod’s teenage life isn’t perfect, but things could be worse. He lives with his single mom in a modest home. They don’t have a lot of extras, but they’re getting by. He has a punk rock band called “Fanged Grapefruit” and a beautiful girlfriend. Life is pretty good. That is, until Blake moves in. Blake is Rod’s cousin, and from the moment his privileged mountain of luggage arrives—the day before he does himself—Blake manages to make Rod’s life a living hell. But is he a harmless idiot? Or does this demon-spawn of a cousin know exactly what he’s doing?


How You Ruined My Life is a fun read that made me laugh out loud more than once. Things are so bad that even Rod finds himself doubting anyone could be as diabolical as Blake seems. Is he really moving Rod’s posters a centimeter at a time whenever he isn’t looking? And he couldn’t possibly be snoring like a jackhammer all night on purpose. Could he? Rod’s train of thought is an amusing stream of ridiculousness that can sometimes be over the top, and he’s such an easy a target for Blake’s shenanigans that he’s almost asking for it. But that naive, good-guy attitude is a big part of his charm, and I’m a sucker for a nice guy.

BOTTOM LINE: The stream-of-consciousness humor in this oddball team-up ranges from questionable to uproarious.

– Erin’s pick.

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