All My Friends Are Going to be Strangers was the fifth novel that Larry McMurtry wrote. It also happened to be the first McMurtry book that I read. The story is of the coming-of-age of a budding young writer, but more than that, it is a coming-of-age story of a young man in the 1960s. However, the trials that he faces in the book reflect the difficulties of life for a man in his early 20s, be it in 1960 or 50 years later.
I stumbled upon All My Friends Are Going to be Strangers by accident. I had a roommate in college that read Lonesome Dove so I decided to give it a try with my new Kindle. But as I was getting ready to make the purchase I realized that I did not want to make my way through the 1,000 pages required for that book. I still wanted to read a Larry McMurtry book, and All My Friends Are Going to be Strangers had good reviews so I bought it. I quickly became a McMurtry fan and am in the process of reading all of his fiction.
I did not expect this book to touch me like it did. The storytelling is paced so easily with characters that I could relate to. Danny Deck is a young writer with a promising career, in a Master's program at Rice University in Houston. However, despite his talents, his insecurities constantly gnaw at him. Like many people, these insecurities are both professional and personal.
The book's portrayal of Danny's relationships with the opposite sex will be familiar to anybody who has had the (mis)fortune of trying to find love during or right after college. He meets a beautiful girl, but he is always worried that she would rather be with someone else. He also meets a girl that is not quite as pretty, but they get along very well. And then there is the girl that he has always been friends with, but life will not allow them to be together. These relationships will resonate with anyone who has been through the early 20s.
In All My Friends Are Going to be Strangers Danny has written a book that has been published. This is quite an amazing feat for someone of his age. He is surrounded by other aspiring novelists who have not been as successful. In fact, a movie studio wants to make his book into a movie! But his professional insecurities stay with him. Again, this spoke to me as I have been through these experiences, especially right out of college, where a lack of maturity and self-confidence creates self-doubt that can be crippling. Danny's struggles with self-doubt are both humorous and sad at the same time as the reader reflects back on similar times.
All My Friends Are Going to be Strangers is set in Texas and California. As a native Texan born after the 60s, this book provides a glimpse into Texas during those years. There are scenes that contrast the new style of the 60s with the old, rugged Texas landscape. It was very interesting to consider the attitudes that must have existed in Houston and West Texas during the 1960s.
Stumbling across Larry McMurtry's book All My Friends Are Going to be Strangers was one of the luckiest things I have ever done. His writing is laid back without a lot of dramatic moments. You will not have explosions and shoot outs. But you will receive great storytelling with scenes that remind you of real life and real people that you know. If you are looking for a great book by a great author, All My Friends Are Going to be Strangers should be in your library.