“Flynn is stuck—depressed, recently dumped, and living at his mom’s house. The supermarket was supposed to change all that. An ordinary job and a steady check. Work isn’t work when it’s saving you from yourself. But things aren’t quite as they seem in these aisles. Arriving to work one day to a crime scene, Flynn’s world collapses as the secrets of his tortured mind are revealed. And Flynn doesn’t want to go looking for answers at the supermarket. Because something there seems to be looking for him. A darkly funny psychological thriller, Supermarket is a gripping exploration into madness and creativity. Who knew you could find sex, drugs, and murder all in aisle nine?”
Supermarket by Bobby Hall AKA Logic is the debut novel by the Maryland rapper. While an entertaining and fairly ambitious novel, it suffers from a predictable plot and some awkward writing that results in a fairly solid debut novel.
To begin with, I am a huge fan of Logic. He is my current favorite rapper, so take that into consideration while reading this review. That being said, I will try my best to be as objective as I can. Let’s start with the characters and the protagonist, Flynn. I feel that Flynn was a fairly relatable protagonist. As a fan of Logic, Flynn definitely borrows some traits from him such as his past experiences, interests, etc. I do think Logic does a good enough job of making you sympathize with him as he definitely goes through some stuff throughout the novel. You feel his pain, his anger, and his anguish and it was nice to be able to relate to him. Other characters such as Frank, Mia, and Red play important roles throughout the story and while they do have their moments within the novel, I felt they were just fine. They were just interesting enough to justify their time throughout the book, but nothing that really makes them stand out. I do think one of the better parts of the novel is the fairly genuine and somewhat realistic dialogue. While not perfect, as I will discuss later, it’s easy to see that Hall cared about making the characters feel like actual people. They don’t talk like robots or feel emotionless. The characters talk as if they are shooting the shit, as people say, which is refreshing. That being said, some characters are stereotypical and there’s some cringey dialogue early on.
Now, as for the actual plot of the novel, it is fairly predictable especially if you have read Fight Club and other books of that nature. I saw the multiple twists coming a mile away, but I was a bit surprised at how Hall incorporates small details that freshen it up and help spice up the story. Hall definitely has some cool story ideas with some solid world building and incorporates a darker tone tackling topics such as schizophrenia and anxiety. He also peppers jokes throughout to help alleviate the heavy subjects and, while it doesn’t always hit, I did laugh a few times. Now, by far, the weakest part of the novel is the actual writing. Hall has stated his favorite author is Ernest Cline, author of Ready Player One. I loved Ready Player One for just being so damn fun. It’s the Fast and the Furious of books. That being said as an actual book, it’s terrible, and it is not the best place to look at for inspiration when writing a good book. A predictable plot, OK characters, and awkward dialogue hamper the book. As I said before, the dialogue is somewhat realistic, genuine, and is the best part of the actual writing, but Hall tends to over explain throughout the book. It was as if he was afraid the audience would not get what was happening. Just like Cline, Hall does use pop culture references throughout which didn’t bother me, but it may for you. Hall also does use fourth wall breaks throughout the book and he tends to use it to go on a bit of a tangent and it can somewhat bog down the book,feeling a bit preachy. Overall, the writing just feels awkward and clunky. There’s just no flow to it.
As a package, Supermarket is a solid debut novel from Logic. Solid characters, a cool yet predictable story, and some good world building are the best parts of the novel. However, as with most debut novels, the actual writing is awkward and clunky and Hall’s tendency to over explain things handicaps the novel. But, it is easy to see that Logic has the ideas and talent to do well in this medium, but just needs to put it all together.
Rating: Check it out.
Side note: There is a sound track that accompanies this novel, also named Supermarket. I did really enjoy listening to it, but it is definitely not the best from Logic. It is a new foray to a completely different sound that I am used from Logic and I applaud him from trying something new. However, the lyrics are fairly simple, generic even and it is obvious, he drew inspiration from Coldplay, Radiohead, RHCP, etc which is not a bad thing. That being said, some people will hate it for that reason. The actual sound is the best part and I truly enjoyed listening to it. It’s definitely something that will be in my car playlist or just something I will listen to when I want to relax.