I feel like giving three stars is too much, but at the same time not enough. I do not think this is a "bad" book, it just did not live up the potentiaI feel like giving three stars is too much, but at the same time not enough. I do not think this is a "bad" book, it just did not live up the potentially very high expectations I had placed upon it (due in large part to the National Book Award Long-list nod), because of which the onus rests on me, not "Wolf in White Van". I suspect am not the target reader.
Many parts are extremely well written and some passages will stay with me long after I have finished the book. I just find this an extremely SAD book that may appeal more to a certain type of lonely, isolated, and more youthful person than myself. I have always been social and gregarious, I have dealt with loneliness by safety in numbers in friendship and chatter. Sean, the narrator is an outsider, on the fringe of most things-both before and after the "accident" - an observer with a hyper-active imagination.
I have never felt as hopeless as Sean, and I wish we as reader had more of a window in his specific issues that caused his actions and reactions that lead to the "accident".
(Warning--This paragraph is SPOILER-ish, though I have read this info. in reviews on NPR, etc. so it is out there, but just skip it if you want to go into the novel blank) I basically read the novel in a day, in two sittings on a long bus ride and was much more taken in by/invested in the book in the beginning when the "accident" was shrouded in mystery and you did not know it was just a failed suicide attempt. I feel like maybe I am missing something-if it was just a failed suicide attempt why did Sean not finish himself off later instead of living through all the pain, rehab, loneliness and gawking at being disfigured? Did he find himself now special and with purpose, post-accident physically, even beyond the creation of the "Trace Italian" game? Did he have a legit excuse (in his own opinion) now to alienate himself from society and live inside his own mind and a world of imagination?
As a female who was never into video games after a brief Super Mario Brothers obsession that ended when I beat the game in the late 80s, and never having role-playing games I figured that there would be something niche here that I cannot relate to on more than a surface level. But I was wrong, I see a parallel in this imaginary role playing world where they could pretend to be something different to my elaborate world my Barbies played in and where I could escape into a different more glamorous world where I was in charge and who I wanted to be in my confusing teen years.
The "Trace Italian" parts of the novel were my favorite. I loved the way the clues were simply written, but so descriptive, the choose your own adventure-ness' of the game and clues, the explanation of how Sean ran his business and such, how he felt he had purpose and his invented world gave him satisfaction and accomplishment. Even though it was an "old-fashion" via subscription game listed in the backs of magazines delivered by USPS mail game it brought people together in a more concrete way then a computer screen and I can understand that the tangible letter paper in hand gives things weight the internet cannot.
I can see how Lance and Carrie in Kansas, two of the most invested subscribers of Trace Italian found such solace inside the game and got lost inside of the elaborate roll playing search for the Trace Italian that was an escape from real life. But that is where the understanding ends as my mindset and mental state cannot grasp self-harm even in my darkest moments. Too much imagination can be a detriment.
Also, for much of the book I was expecting a type of surprise-twist at the end (like "Invisible Monsters" but Chuck Palahniuk) and was more than a bit disappointed when that didn't happen.
Aftrr finishing this book the one think I want to know is WHAT IN THE WORLD DID TYRA BANKS' MOTHER DO TO HER? Because Tyra has Mommy Issues like I havAftrr finishing this book the one think I want to know is WHAT IN THE WORLD DID TYRA BANKS' MOTHER DO TO HER? Because Tyra has Mommy Issues like I have NEVER seen.
It took me from November of 2011 until this past weekend to make it through this insane nonsense but I have to give Tyra Banks credit for how utterly original and COMPLETELY bat-sh*t crazy this book is. If I had a teen I don't think I would let my kids read it. ...more
I can't decide what's holding me back from this collection. The more I read the less I liked it. More then anything it's the most mysoginistic thing II can't decide what's holding me back from this collection. The more I read the less I liked it. More then anything it's the most mysoginistic thing I have read in a long while (and I don't even think he intended it to be which makes it worse).
I refuse to believe that life is so hopeless and youthful innocence does not exsist today. Not everyone can be so sociopathic and "slutty" (I'm loathing using that word as to what it represents in the book). Have some pride, faith, identity. If you would believe these stories, that is not possible.
Ironically the best stories are from a female narrator, all the males blend completely together into no identity (or maybe I hate all the male speakers just calling the girls whore/slut over and over) and the women do nothing to prove them wrong.
I read the entire book in less than a day and I haven't done that in ages.
Story: Was it the fact I can't relate to kids this age anymore? Was it the shock for shock value? Or that the same thing happened over and over? A decent first offering, but I wanted so much more, and have read so much better. I don't shock easy, I've read a ton of Denis Cooper (who is way more graphic but is actually saying something about contemporary life) and what felt false to me was the "violence" and the suposed dangerous boys but instead of feeling shocking or fresh it all felt one note, and a fall back with all the "sluts" and masturbation, anti-gay sentiments, and violent sad lost kids. If I can't relate to that anymore, James Franco certainly can't. Especially when every boy was the nerdiest ugliest boy. And while we all feel less than in our youth, as adults we can look back with 20/20 hindsight and Franco needs to be a liitle more honest with who he is now to make me buy what he is trying to sell then.
Writing: very few good passages or images I admired for writing or craft. It seemed rushed, like he wrote what he thought a short story should be. I still think could develop into a writer, but I kept thinking that if he wasnt who he was he never would have gotten this published. It need to be more tweaked. I feel bad for other writers with short story collections slaving away who will never get published.
Maybe it's a California thing, and I can't relate....more
What I learned from this book is that I am too old to be reading books about high school girls, I just cant relate. Read at your own risk. A guy was ovWhat I learned from this book is that I am too old to be reading books about high school girls, I just cant relate. Read at your own risk. A guy was over my apaartment and saw that I was reading this book and mercilessly mocked me. It was deserved....more
Ok, so I read Twilight, and finished it last night, at parts I enjoyed it, but overall it didn't live up to the hype. I knew full well that it is romaOk, so I read Twilight, and finished it last night, at parts I enjoyed it, but overall it didn't live up to the hype. I knew full well that it is romance that has no grounds in the real world, but I think that it is more likely that vampires atually exist then "true love"/romance exists like it does in this book. If we went back in time to my 13 year old, un-jaded barbie playing self I would find this book the most amazing thing ever, but the me today just can't get that into it.
If you removed the line "I will love you forever" from every place it is in the book, the book would be at least 14 pages shorter. I fear it is setting up a generation of young girls to have completely unrealistic expectations in men and romance.
I thought that the book would get much better and exciting after the "tracker" vampire showed up in the plot but if anything Stephanie Meyer, whose imagination is deeper then her actual writing talents, wrote in manner that was confusing and the plot became unnecessarily hard to follow for something seemingly straightforward.
I enjoyed the first half of the book with the suspense and setting up of the characters more then I enjoyed the book once Bella and Edward became a couple. I was hoping for more vampire lore and action and less love which was my fault I guess, as I should have known better. The people who convinced me to read it told me book two is their favorite so I will read that and then see if I continue on after that. I think it just maybe that since I am REALLY REALLY REALLY not a romance novel kind of reader that I will never be into this series of books like some other people are....more
"People arrive in your life and then disappear, and with every leaving, a little bit more of you goes away with them."
This book was very inventive, es"People arrive in your life and then disappear, and with every leaving, a little bit more of you goes away with them."
This book was very inventive, especially in regards to the manner in which it is narrated. It was not a happy book, or emotional easy to read, but extremely affecting. It touches on many simple truths within peoples relationships and what individuals need to tell themselves to make it through each day, which is one of my favorite experiences in reading.
"The Sabotage Cafe" fleshes out a complicated mother/daughter relationship and also focuses on how people can be completely self-involved and how that affects how we view ourselves and compromise ourselves to connect with other people. It also deals with mental illness in a fresh manner in both how the person who is sick sees themselves and how the people in their lives must react to it and deal with it.
Both of the female characters were fully developed and incredibly realistic and relatable which really shows the skill of the author since as a man he completely inhabited the insecurities of a teenage girl. ...more
Unlikable characters feeling sorry for themselves. Same old story of the smart, poor girl on the outside looking in and being treated shabbily. Same oUnlikable characters feeling sorry for themselves. Same old story of the smart, poor girl on the outside looking in and being treated shabbily. Same old same old for the whole book and no one really learns any lessons...more