Monday, May 14, 2012

{Review} "South of Bixby Bridge" by Ryan Winfield

Title:  South of Bixby Bridge
Author:  Ryan Winfield
Publisher:  Birch Paper Press  
Publication Date:  August 15, 2011
Genre:  Drama
Format:  Kindle, 495 KB

Buy this book on Amazon:   Paperback  Kindle Edition
Author's Website:  

Synopsis from Goodreads 
Fresh out of drug rehab.  A young unemployed stockbroker, alone.  Struggling to survive the holidays on the San Francisco streets.  He wants his life back, he wants his girlfriend back.  Then his luck turns when he runs into just the right man--A charming, sadistic hedge-fund owner with an intoxicating wife.  Success, money, a second   chance . . .  But sometimes second chances come with a price.  Sometimes the price is your soul.  
Diving in...
**This review contains minor spoilers.**

 I should start this by saying that it was kind of a fluke that I stumbled upon this book.  I saw a Facebook ad that was a kindle daily deal, one of those "if you liked Fifty Shades of Grey, you will like this book".  I clicked through it and ended up buying the book on Amazon after I read some reviews on Goodreads.  I will also say that I am fairly shallow and when I saw Ryan Winfield's profile image on Goodreads I decided that I would read anything he wrote if that was really him in the picture!!  Hey, I said I was shallow!  Turns out, I was right so it all paid off in the end.

I will also say that this book really shouldn't be compared to Fifty Shades.  The only similarities are that one of the characters happens to be very wealthy and the character of Paul is controlling, but it a way very dissimilar to Christian.  That said, without the recommendation I probably wouldn't have read this book and I am very glad that I did.

Trevor is one of those guys that you can't help but like even though he is incredibly frustrating.  He is written in a way that you just can't help but feel for everything he is going through.  He is struggling with pretty severe addiction.  The story opens with him being released from a 28 day stay in a treatment facility.  The events that landed him there are told in a flashback style.  It seems that he had hit bottom and has nowhere to go but up, but Trevor isn't totally convinced that he is an addict.

He's a smart guy who had great potential, he ended up in the financial world making lots of money.  He had a house, his girlfriend was living with him while she finished school.  He was pulled into the world of excess and ended up tanking when his addiction took over to the point that he was selling everything he had to get more booze, cocaine, pills, etc... He had lost his job, his girlfriend left him because he didn't want to face his addiction, he overdosed and ended up in treatment.

Now he is out of rehab.  He is literally on his own, with his car and what little he has in the bag he is carrying.  He has nowhere to go, no money, no prospects really.   He goes from the lowest low to the highest high in the space of less than 2 weeks when he meets Paul.  Paul hires him to work for his company, lets him live on his yacht, gives him access to money, clubs, his beautiful wife and Paul essentially leads him right back into the life he lived before.  Trevor was able to stay sober for a couple of weeks, but Paul is controlling enough and Trevor is still not admitting that he is an addict.  It's just so easy for Paul to pull him back in with a glass of expensive wine.

Trevor is selling his soul for the power that he wants and he goes along with it for a little while, but you always get this sense that he is balking a bit.  He knows that what he is doing isn't right and he wants to change he just hasn't reached that point quite yet.  Reading Trevor's story is a bit like a car crash, you don't want to look because you know you won't be able to forget what you saw, but you just can't help it.  In this case it literally takes a car crash and a handful of horse tranquilizers for Trevor to come to terms with the fact that he is heading in a direction that he won't be able to come back from.  If he continues there will be no redemption for him, and I think that's one thing that he wants.  He is forced into a confrontation with Paul and he walks away from it a better man.

In the end he does get clean and he does it because it's something that he wants, not something that was forced on him by someone else.  He comes to terms with some family issues that have been haunting him for almost 20 years.  He is able to put that behind him and in doing that he will be a better man for sure.  The Trevor at the end of this book is not the same Trevor we met in the beginning.

This book is so beautifully written!  This is the first book by a first time author that I have enjoyed this much. I was a little thrown off by the lack of quotation marks in the dialogue, but it didn't take me long to adjust to it.  I also agree with other readers that it was perfect for this story.  I think it fit Trevor and it fit the overall tone of the story.  It moved the story along faster for sure.  Ryan Winfield has taken the readers on a very emotional journey.  Even if you have no experience with addiction you will be emotionally caught up with Trevor as he faces these issues.  It's a bit of a roller coaster ride and it seems somewhat unbelievable, but I think that's what makes it so good.  It's a life that most of us will never experience, but we can certainly feel for Trevor and that's what makes the story so compelling.

As far as content is concerned there is a fair amount of profanity, it's not overused though.  There is drug use and some sexual content.  I don't agree with some other readers that it was too explicit though, it wasn't racy either.  If anything it was more clinical in it's description, especially for those readers that enjoyed the Fifty Shades series.  It was written as more of a bodily function as opposed to something done for pleasure, if that makes any sense!

I definitely recommend this book and it's one that I would read again for sure.  I am (not so) patiently awaiting the release of Ryan Winfield's next book!!

Rating 9/10


  1. Thank you for the wonderful review!

  2. I swear, reading this review was so much like my own experience with "South of Bixby Bridge". I found it exactly the same way you did and I found Trevor frustrating, yet so damn likeable I couldn't stop rooting for him. And as an aspiring author, the lack of quotation marks really bugged me. lol.

    Love your blog and you've just gained a new follower. I'll be happy to share this on my Facebook page and my blog. Oh, and as soon as my novel gets published, I'll be contacting you for a review =)

    1. Sounds great, I'd love to read it! When I got the book and scanned through it the lack of quotations flows SO much better in printed format. When I re-read it, I am going to read the hard copy for just that reason.


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