Andrew T.'s Reviews > Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron
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's review
Apr 16, 2009

Recommended for: Anyone
Read in April, 2009 , read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** Peter Cameron's "Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You" explores a concept that most other novels dare never to lay a finger on. It compels the reader into looking at the social "misfits", arranging an extensive array of ideas within the novel at once. Cameron had written this book with not just the lives of lone wolves everywhere in mind, but how it affects us, the average reader.
The diction of the novel was much required for the reader to acknowledge such an obscure presence. Much of it was quite colourful; keeping readers from closing it, allowing them to venture into the depths of the quirky mind of James Sveck, a "loner" from New York City, once implied as "James Sveck: Missing Misfit." The extensive, precise narration of otherwise perverted thoughts could only have been adequately explained through the first person. This is how the author chose to write his novel. The spontaneity of James' mind to some of the smallest details of his life is highly noticeable among readers. When James, for example, learned that he was to see a therapist known as Rowena Adler, he thought "it's a tad Teutonic", already aware of the upcoming formation of another turbulent relationship, just like the ones he had formed with his “capricious mother”, “self-absorbed father”, and “mordant older sister.” Compared to other characters in other books, James seems to be relatively elaborative on his thoughts, so much that his own footnotes have dragged on for multiple pages. And yet, readers are still heavily inundated to read on, especially when there exists a panoply of punctuation, including quotations, brackets, and even capitalization. The novel even ends with rhetorical questions and a cliffhanger, asking the readers “How [does he:] know what [he wants:] in [his:] life?” and “How does [he:] know what things [he:] will need?”
The theme of the novel was rather significant as well to forming the plot of the story. After reading this novel, us readers will realize that there exists a bit of James in all of us. In fact, every character in this novel each has their own abnormalities. Aside from James and his dysfunctional family, we also spot James’ friend John searching through a dating website in contrast to him also having “perfect SAT scores” from high school and attending “Harvard on a full scholarship”, and Rowena Adler, a professional (in our perspective) therapist whom had helped James much less with his dilemma than his grandmother. We all want to be ourselves, but we are all too afraid to admit it, lest our feelings become misunderstood, ridiculed and/or ignored. In this case, all James wanted was a life of his own, without any interference from society, his family, and his therapist.
Having read this novel, I too had also schemed on escaping society’s woes on us, starting a fresh new life, maybe even as a hermit. I believe many of us would like a life more or less the same as such. By reading this novel, we can express our own feelings on life’s challenges more confidently.
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