Luckily for Unlucky, I didn't feel the nagging need to rewrite my friend's work, and it's easy, laid back style allowed me to read it for the fun piece of fiction it really is.
Unlucky does not pretend to be the next great American novel, but it certainly doesn't need to be. Initially the story falters as it attempts to set its tone, but once the reader recognizes the thought patterns of high school students, the way that they perceive their contained world as the absolute beginning and the end, as well as the way they build fantasies into the reality around them, this novel (novella?) becomes much easier to read.
Stepping into the setting of Unlucky is like simultaneously re-experiencing the past and finding yourself in some strange alternate reality. The hero of the story (as a hero he must be, considering the hero-journey he embarks on), despite all of his dopey charm and silliness, manages to pull the reader into his quest, absurd as it may seem. Riddled with the delicate nuances of teenage politics, as well as characters that are striving toward some sense of legitimacy with their observations, Unlucky is perhaps more genuine writing than many of the more acclaimed authors of today. I found myself laughing out loud as I followed Sean in his search for a stolen piece of Americana: A Britney Spears poster that he had found and taped above his locker.
There is nothing too profound about this work, but again, it never pretends to be profound, and it is that honesty that gives Unlucky its value and charm. Though I would have liked to have gotten to know some of the secondary characters better, they all are just that, secondary, revolving around the universe in this work that is Sean Donner. With some more cultivating, this piece could easily have become something like The Big Lebowski, but as it is, it's a joyful story with an almost fairy-tale like quality.