Mar 24, 08
Read in January, 1999
I hate this book. Let me just get that out of the way first!
I also have to admit to having personal knowledge of the author - which in no way colors my opinion of this book. Mr. Lamb was a writing teacher at my high school in CT and actually helped me quite a bit in writing my college application essays. I got in to every school I applied for - even my reach school - and I am positive that the essay I wrote was the biggest tipping point. My essay was really good and it was wholly because of Mr. Lamb and his suggestions, pointers and all around encouragement. As a person, Mr. Lamb is wonderful and I will always remember him with high praise.
Which is part of the reason why I wanted to love this book so much. I loved Mr. Lamb. He was the teacher all the students wanted to work with and to have a book of his published! And on Oprah!!! So I picked it up and was so excited - I think I read it in two days or something.
That build up may explain my intense dislike for the book now. Too much hype to live up to. Regardless, I hated the main character. She was a "sad sack" type. Very much a Charlie Brown type - the character who is very nice, NEVER gets a break, is inexplicably constantly treated like crap by everyone around them without deserving it, and makes the trials of Job look like a tropical vacation. After while, I have to say - enough is enough!!! The book became incredibly predictable - not conventionally, i.e. boy meets girl, etc - but rather, if there was a situation described and you imagined the worst possible outcome, that is what would happen! Imagine yourself baking a cake. What's the worst that could happen? Burn the cake moments before the birthday party? Amateur. No, the correct answer is have the gas flowing but the pilot light go out until a spark happens when you slip on the floor in non-skid slippers causing a gigantic explosion that kills the neighbors and innocent children who happened to be arriving for the party at that exact moment but blowing you out the window to safety where you land relatively unharmed but now burned with guilt for the rest of your life. Oh yeah, and the neighborhood now hates you and has voted you out of the community so you are homeless. Now you get the idea. That is what this book reads like - page after page after page of it.
I hated the character (unbelievably wimpy), the story (the ridiculous situations and absurd outcomes), and the plot (which meandered and was like walking with a 2 year old - you had to stop and fully investigate anything shiny before being allowed to move on).
So if you are only somewhat depressed but not quite suicidal yet, this is the book for you. Everyone else should stay away in droves.
If you ever get a chance to meet the actual author, please do - you'll come out better for it.
And my last little comment, try to never read a lesbian sex scene written by a former teacher and mentor. You can never look at him the same again! I am actually glad that I have not met him since because I don't know if I could look at him the same way!!