Book Review – Leaving Las Vegas by John O’Brien

Leaving Las Vegas coverLast night I finished Leaving Las Vegas by John O’Brien.  It took me a couple weeks to get through this, although I read half of it last night.  The beginning just wasn’t exciting.  I didn’t really care about Sera, and while Ben was definitely likable, it took too long for him to get to Las Vegas.  Plus that whole thing with Al – what happened to him?  He was just gone, no real explanation.
Once Ben and Sera met, however, the book really picked up.  You could feel the connection that they had, could tell that they loved each other in their own dysfunctional ways.
A few technical notes, little things that I picked up on – during the last part, when Ben and Sera were together, O’Brien did a LOT of head-hopping, switching POVs within the same scene, sometimes within the same paragraph.  It wasn’t necessarily confusing, but it was something I picked up on.
And I wasn’t too big on his flashbacks, which were just sections in parentheses.  Kind of shoved in, interrupting the flow of the story.
But overall, a good read, if you can get through the beginning.  And the ending was great – I appreciated that Sera just accepted Ben and didn’t try to save him.  Sometimes that’s the quality you need most in a friend.
I don’t recommend the movie, though, not if you’ve read the book.  Some things were glossed over but thrown in that didn’t really seem to fit, and the character development wasn’t as good.  Elizabeth Shue wasn’t convincing in her emotions, and Nicholas Cage, while doing a good job in the role, isn’t an actor I’m overly fond of.
So once again, the book wins.
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