I think I renewed this book 3 times. It's just so damn... long.
And I don't think it really needed to be. It seemed sort of a slice-of-life tale, but also seemed pretty much ALL the slices of the author's life. He took all the bizarre stuff that's ever happened to him, ramped it up a bit to increase the drama, and then stuffed it all in a novel-shaped package.
It contained at least 4 tales in one. His life having been abandoned by his mother at an early age, his life as a teacher, his life as a failed writer, and his life as a video game addict (oh, yea, I think that was him, not a "friend"). Unfortunately, none of these gel with each other unless you create quite a number of crazy plot devices. Crazy enough that you notice it. A lot.
The writing is pretty damn good, in and of itself. Hill keeps the momentum going and doesn't devolve into a ton of miscellaneous description (which you all know I hate). He does this a bit in the video game sections, but that's some pretty fascinating detail, so I'll give him that one.
Therefore, this novel should have been 4 novels. And I'll put that problem squarely on his publisher.