LIFE IS GOOD—IF BUT BRIEFLY is a contemporary, satirical novel written in the third person. Walter Dingles, the story’s protagonist, is an introspective twenty-two-year-old with a knack for screwing things up. After finishing college, Walter realizes he’s emotionally ill prepared to face the world on his own. He moves back home vowing to get his shit together. He lands a job at his old high school, but his efforts are exacerbated when his grandfather’s porn collection ends up in the principal’s office, he unknowingly begins taking his mother’s estrogen supplements, and family secrets come to the fore. In the end, Walter comes to accept himself. Set in the heartland, LIFE IS GOOD—IF BUT BRIEFLY plays against the region’s reputation as a bastion of conservatism and wholesome family values, while expressing the mood and anxiety of a generation coming of age in a down economy.