Cherry is a 2018 novel by American author Nico Walker. It concerns an unnamed narrator's time in college, as a soldier during the War in Iraq, and life as a drug addict and bank robber after returning from the war during the midst of the American opioid epidemic.

AuthorNico Walker
CountryUnited States
PublisherAlfred A. Knopf
Publication date
August 14, 2018
Media typePrint, e-book

The novel is an example of autofiction, as Walker was a military veteran who struggled with drug addiction and robbed banks, but there are several differences between the author's real-life actions and the main character's fictional actions.[1]

A film adaptation was released in 2021.

Synopsis edit

The unnamed narrator, a young man from Cleveland, drops out of college and enlists in the United States Army as a medic during the Iraq War. Suffering from PTSD, the narrator starts self-medicating with opiates while deployed and continues once back home. His opioid use quickly becomes a devastating addiction that hurts his attempts at furthering his education and his personal relationships. After reigniting his relationship with his ex girlfriend, who enables his opioid abuse, the narrator begins to run out of money and decides to start robbing banks to pay for his and his girlfriend's habit.[2][3]

Development edit

Writing edit

Walker had been in a federal prison in Ashland, Kentucky, for bank robbery since 2013,[4] and wrote the book on a typewriter over the course of several years. He was released early from prison in October 2019.[5][6]

Cover edit

Janet Hansen, a designer at Alfred Knopf, created the book cover, which features a skull originally by Swedish graphic designer Daniel Bjugård.[7][8] Walker’s literary agent dismissed an earlier version with "[it looked] like it should be sold in Hot Topic".

Reception edit

The book was published to positive reviews and "near-universal praise" as per the review aggregator website Book Marks and, respectively.[9][10] Book Marks reported that 54% of critics gave the book a "rave" review, whilst 31% of the critics expressed "positive" impressions, based on a sample of 13 reviews.[9]

Cherry debuted at number 14 on The New York Times bestseller list.[11]

The book and the film adaptation have been criticized for presenting the bank robber sympathetically, while overlooking the innocent victims of the crime, such as the bank employees caught in the crime spree.[1]

Film adaptation edit

Because Walker only had limited phone access while in prison, the negotiations for a film adaptation were unusually long.[12] Days after publication, filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo, through their studio AGBO, bought the production rights for $1 million then signed on to direct and produce from a screenplay by Jessica Goldberg.[13][14] In March 2019, it was confirmed that Tom Holland was cast in the lead role.[15] Filming began in October 2019.[16] Ciara Bravo, Bill Skarsgård, Jack Reynor, Jeff Wahlberg, Kyle Harvey, Forrest Goodluck and Michael Gandolfini were added in October.[17] Filming wrapped on January 20, 2020.[citation needed] After early distribution talks with Netflix, the Russo brothers struck a deal with Apple TV+ in September 2020.[18] Cherry was theatrically released February 26, 2021 and premiered on the streaming service on March 12, 2021.[19][20]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Gallagher, Matt (March 13, 2021). "In "Cherry," the Bank Robber Is the Victim. What About the Teller He Held Up?". The Intercept. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  2. ^ Alter, Alexandra (August 10, 2018). "How a Young War Veteran Became a Serial Bank Robber, Then a Novelist". The New York Times. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  3. ^ Cherry Summary and Study Guide. Retrieved March 12, 2021. {{cite book}}: |website= ignored (help)
  4. ^ Kaplan, Ilana (September 5, 2018). "Army Medic, Addict, Bank Robber, Novelist: How Nico Walker Wrote New Book 'Cherry'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  5. ^ Heisig, Eric; clevel; .com (October 17, 2019). "Imprisoned Cleveland-area author moved to halfway house while production commences for movie adaption directed by Russo brothers". cleveland. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  6. ^ Wong, Collin. "Nico Walker: The veteran who wrote his debut novel from a jail cell". The Observer. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  7. ^ Charles, Ron (August 17, 2018). "The alternative covers for Nico Walker's hit novel 'Cherry' look nothing like the final version". Washington Post. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Hansen, Janet (August 16, 2018). "THE TROUBLE WITH DESIGNING A BOOK WHEN ITS AUTHOR IS IN JAIL". LitHub. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Cherry". Book Marks. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  10. ^ Rathburn, Daniel (August 22, 2018). "Nico Walker's Cherry Got Near-Universal Praise". Vulture. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  11. ^ "First a Decorated War Vet, Then a Bank Robber, Now a Best-Selling Novelist". The New York Times. August 24, 2018. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  12. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (August 16, 2018). "Hot 'Cherry' Book Auction Handcuffed Because Imprisoned Author Has Run Short Of Phone Call Minutes". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  13. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (August 24, 2018). "AGBO Nearing $1M 'Cherry' Book Deal; 'Avengers: Infinity War's Russo Bros Eye Directing". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  14. ^ McNary, Dave (August 24, 2018). "Russo Brothers Close Deal to Direct PTSD Drama 'Cherry'". Variety. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  15. ^ Kroll, Justin (March 11, 2019). "Tom Holland Reteams With Russo Brothers for 'Cherry' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  16. ^ Clark, Anne Victoria (July 21, 2019). "Tom Holland to Star in Russo Brothers' Rated-R Film Adaptation of Cherry". Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  17. ^ Ciara Bravo Joins Tom Holland in Russo Brothers’ Next Film (EXCLUSIVE)
  18. ^ Fisher, Jacob (September 16, 2019). "Netflix In Early Talks For Distribution Rights For Russo Brothers' 'Cherry' (EXCLUSIVE)". Discussing Film. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  19. ^ Breznican, Anthony (November 24, 2020). "Tom Holland in the Wild and Woeful 'Cherry': Exclusive First Look". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on November 24, 2020. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  20. ^ Apple Makes Big Deal For Joe & Anthony Russo-Directed ‘Cherry;’ Tom Holland & Ciara Bravo Drama Becomes Oscar Season Entry