I was in a bookstore when I caught sight of this amusing cover with self-designed cyborgs and the extraordinary title The boy who couldn’t sleep and never had to (2010). When I read the back cover I was even more fascinated by the story, which is a combination of literature and science fiction. It was written by D.C Pierson, who was raised in Arizona and graduated in 2007 from New York University with a degree in writing for television. He presents himself as a comedian, and this is his first novel.
The story is narrated by Darren, who befriends Eric at high school. The two boys share an interest in drawing, cyborgs and video games. Being awkward and unpopular, they decide that playing games and inventing new creatures from out of space is the best thing you could do on a Friday evening. After a while, Eric reveals a secret to Darren: He never sleeps and seems to have special powers. He is able to bring to life the creatures he and Darren invented on paper. The secret leaks out, and Eric is sought by the government, the pharmaceutical industry, or perhaps something even darker. The boys go on the run. However, it soon becomes unclear what is real and what is a product of their imaginations.
The novel is about teenagers trying to survive their high school lives unscathed. It is also about friendship, fidelity, uncertainty about girls, broken families and, ultimately, faith in life.
The book indeed delivers on what the cover promises. It is a hilarious and original. The fast use of language in combination with an endless imagination gives the impression that Darren is almost manic and the story has all been written down impulsively.
As you finish the last sentences, you find yourself still in the dark about what exactly happened, what is real and what is imagination. The good thing is: You can try your own fantasy.