Study Guide

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk Tough-o-Meter

By Ben Fountain

Tough-o-Meter

(7) Snow Line

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is like one of those all-you-can-eat buffets: it's got a lot of deliciousness to offer, but it can be pretty hard to digest. There are so many levels to this novel, it should be called Candy Crush. You could read this baby ten times, and each time, you might pick up on a different aspect of Billy Lynn's story.

In addition, Billy has an interesting way of conversing. In his head, he's like a walking thesaurus: the kid's vocabulary definitely rivals that of Roget's. But to everyone else, he's a low-level grunt, using mostly cuss words and monosyllabic expressions that often end in "HOO-AH."

Add a healthy dose of sexual tension, thematic difficulty, and mature conflict, and you've got yourself a pretty hearty book to bite into. We're not saying this is like reading a Homeric epic, but we're saying you shouldn't let the novel's surface simplicity fool you. We think in order to fully grasp all the messages Ben Fountain's trying to send, you're gonna have to dig in pretty deeply.

We apologize for any digestive issues this may cause.

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