It takes a knowledgeable writer to input great music and relevant book references into their own writing and make them belong. It also takes a great imagination, feeling and humanity, to write a novel where the characters will make you remember your youth, make you cry, make you feel, spark happiness and make you reconsider the choices you are making, or may have already made. In S Fitts, the world of the written word has found all of those things. S makes you identify. S writes in Bleeding Gut Blues with feeling, honesty and gumption. The characterizations will make you want to guide, nurture, and generally parent its misguided and often confused cast. You will need dedication and concentration for this novel, but the time and effort given will reward you tenfold. From the very first chapter you will be sucked in and start wearing your feelings on your sleeve. You will remember when once you did that; you will remember the feelings of loss, hope, despair, trust and mistrust, the glimmer of hope and happiness in your early adulthood. This is a tale of youth gone wild, but not by design. A story that could be your life, your dreams and your search for a future, somewhere safe and protected with people you can trust. This could be your search for a family and humanity. If you love rock n roll, if you love people and most of all if you love life, this is a must read. Not all plain sailing with much sadness mixed in, but food for thought and a jolt of reality in world that all too often judges a book by its cover.” - Karen Graham

I finished this book weeks ago, and it's still as fresh in my mind as if I finished it today. The main characters are like casual acquaintances that you know but you DON'T really...with every page more is revealed yet there is more that you're driven to wonder. Ellis is likable in spite of his bad choices...or maybe because of them. The words haunting enigma come to mind. To put it less poetically, this story has been like peanut butter that I've been trying to scrape off the roof of my mouth since I finished reading just ain't going nowhere. Writing this is making me want to read it again...” - Michelle


What would you do if you found out your girlfriend was cheating on you? If you are Ellis O’Neill, the main character of S Fitts’ Bleeding Gut Blues, you split town to become a drunken hobo, and spend a year roaming from college town to college town robbing university parties for booze, bits of cash, and occasionally drugs. You are skinny and pale. You have a disfiguring scar that snakes across your face. Your hair is too long. You smell bad. Your only valuable possessions are a photograph of your parents, a copy of Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut and a tattered journal belonging to your ex-girlfriend. Your life, which wasn’t all that great to begin with, is totally and completely fucked. Feeling depressed and alone you call your old friend Danny and the two of you decide to take a road trip to find the girl who broke your heart. What follows is a journey across several states so soaked in alcohol, drugs, and expletives that it would make Hunter S Thompson proud. Moved forward almost exclusively by dialogue, Bleeding Gut Blues occasionally made me feel like I was reading a screenplay (which is not something I take issue with). But readers who want a novel rich in setting, description or details won’t get much of that here. What you will get is snappy, believable conversation between young characters who are struggling to find their place in a world without any good examples to follow. Bleeding Gut Blues’ strength lies in the voice of its first person narrator. Ellis is convincing and likeable despite his bad choices, depression and drunkenness and his alienation and loneliness are palpable. Ellis is the kind of narrator that makes me consider whether this novel is some sort of partial autobiography disguised as fiction. Whether it is or isn’t is irrelevant — making me wonder is, in my opinion, the hallmark of good fiction. The biggest problem with the book is I can’t figure out why Ellis loves Angie in the first place. Ellis tells us a lot about her—she has blond hair, a peacock tattoo, she can’t sing, she has a memory problem, and a twin sister. She’s an artist’s model. She is his first and only girlfriend. They grew up together. I learned a lot of facts about her but I couldn’t get a true sense of her character, of what makes her worth all his misery or driving across the country for. It seems to come down to the fact that Ellis loves Angie because he always has and because he really has no one else.  And that might be good enough for him- but it isn’t good enough for me. I wanted to see Ellis grow out of Angie and  let her go. Not for the faint of heart or for those who like breathy, uplifting stories—Bleeding Gut Blues is like a punk rock song, angsty and loud, with a not so subtle disdain for authority, and a veneer of toughness that does little to disguise the vulnerability underneath.” - Kara

I like to read -- a lot. Some books I like and some I don't. One of the things that helps me make up my mind is a good story with characters I can relate to on at least some level. The characters in Bleeding Gut Blues were like people I have known (or know). I could even hear an argument the brother and sister have as an argument my brother and I would have. I love reading about places I know, too, so as a Native Rhode Islander who has spent alot of time in Boston (like most of us have), it was fun to read about places I know and about the awesome accent I know we all have. When I finished the book, I was glad I had agreed to read it. I really enjoyed it, and I think everyone else will too.” - Punks for a Princess

Punks for a Princess

This is one of those books where I read the blurb, and had a feeling it’d be the book for me. Not too long after starting to read Bleeding Gut Blues I didn’t just feel that it’d be the book for me, I KNEW it was the book for me. I was instantly sucked into the story and barely realized that I had flipped fifty pages so quickly. I instantly related to the main character, Ellis. This was almost to the point where I felt like I was him. I felt like I had much in common personality-wise and how that affects various aspects of life. Ellis wasn’t the only great character, they all were. Danny, Angie, Kate, and even minor characters that show up for a brief period of time, they were very well written. I wouldn’t have been surprised if this novel was actually a work of non-fiction. That’s how believable it was to me. I’m a sucker for a good road trip book. This type of story is great for a character to grow through the obstacles that arise, the people that they meet, and the self-discovery of being on the road. The main character, Ellis, isn’t the only one who develops as a person. I feel like this made the book stronger and stood out more to me. The entire group changed for the better, even if it was just taking a step back and seeing what should be fixed…even if the reader doesn’t know how much they put what they learned into action. They are still young, so who knows what’ll happen in a few months. I liked that too. Sometimes a book makes the ending seem too final. The growth of a character too perfect and lasting. Almost like there’s no room to stay a flawed character. As I said, the story and the characters were so believable; a great strength Fitts shows. The dialogue and physical interactions between characters seemed spot on for who they were. Nothing was forced. When S Fitts comes out with another book (I hope that happens) I will be very happy to get my hands on it. I can’t say anything bad about this book. I’d like to, but I can’t find anything to point out.” - Robert Zimmermann

A Life Among the Pages

Enjoyed it greatly. I applaud you for conveying your characters' personalities without any long, forced monologues, since it's something that most authors can't do. It's obvious that you set out to tell a particular story, and you managed to stay on track with it. Great use of voice.” - Violet Hope, illustrator
Well developed and compelling characters. More please.” - Nate Shaw, musician, The No-It-Alls


rock and roll animals review:

The Inhumanoids! - "New Song"/"Substitute"