Lauren Hidden's Reviews > Painting by Numbers

Painting by Numbers by David Thyssen
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's review
Oct 24, 2011

really liked it
Read in October, 2011

Seth Mason, on the surface, had everything going for him: he was a good looking, intelligent kid, had plenty of money and was highly intelligent. On the flip side, he was largely ignored by his parents, struggling with mental health issues, constantly harassed by his schoolmates’ taunting and consumed by insecurity about his size and his confusing sexual identity. Put quite simply, Seth didn’t know how to fit into the world around him.

This story is a dark psychological thriller. I almost decided not to get this book based on other reviews but I was glad I read it. The story is compelling, rings true, and makes you want to keep turning the page. Unfortunately, though this is fiction, I expect there are many “Seths” in the world.

The language, the themes of self destruction, defying authority, sexual escapades and mentally disturbed inner dialogue make this book definitely an adult read. When the story goes into the flashback early in the book, Seth is in 8th grade and 14 years old. He almost seems to have more mature thoughts than the average 8th grader I’ve known, so I had to keep reminding myself that he was younger than he “sounded” as the narrator. There were also a few sections where I noticed some editing problems, but it was not so severe that it turned me off from reading the book.

Don’t miss the author’s note at the end of the book about how he came to write this book. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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