Ian's Reviews > Special Topics in Calamity Physics

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
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Nov 05, 11

bookshelves: general-fiction
Read in October, 2011

***Note*** - My review is for the Audible edition, which I didn't find so I chose this edition because it links to the narrator, Emily Janice Card. Her performance is remarkable and perfect for this book.
To say this book is smart is an understatement. It's closer to encyclopedic - and I mean that in a very fond way. What Marisha Pessl has written is a book that is so jam packed with literature, historical and science references that I consider it worth a merit badge to know that I "got" most of them. This is also its drawback however, because I don't think the full impact of how this book is written would be appreciated by those who aren't well read or studied. Should you read it regardless? Yes, but be prepared to wonder if you're catching everything.

The written book has illustrations from the main character, Blue van Meer, included in its pages, which is unfortunate to any audiobook listener but not a deal breaker. I found the audiobook to be excellent in its own right, and Emily Janice Card's performance was so in sync with the book that I doubt anyone could bring a better voice to Blue.

The story on it's own is fun, clever, and interesting; yet that is more an achievement than this sentence gives it credit for. I find myself baffled by how "real" Blue van Meer is as a legitimate teenager. Often when I read children that authors write as intelligent, I can't shake the feeling that I'm just reading about adult behavior and reactions that have a teenager mask - this isn't that way at all. Blue van Meer is so convincing as a teenager that I'm stunned by her intelligence and naivety fitting so neatly together.

Overall, this book was a delight to read. It was very enjoyable, and I give it my highest recommendation.
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