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A Map of Tulsa

2.92  ·  Rating details ·  518 ratings  ·  101 reviews
A stunning debut novel of first love set against the art scene of late-90s Tulsa by a former New Yorker editorial staffer.

The first days of summer: Jim Praley is home from college, ready to unlock Tulsa's secrets. He drives the highways. He forces himself to get out of his car and walk into a bar. He's invited to a party. And there he meets Adrienne Booker; Adrienne rules
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 26th 2013 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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B. Rule
Mar 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
Maybe I'm too close to the setting of this book, being from Tulsa, to fairly review it. I thought it was basically terrible. I was excited to see Tulsa brought to life but I recognized nothing more than some clumsy signifiers of Tulsa landmarks. Despite the fact that the author grew up here, I felt like he lacked insight into the nature of the city. The geography of Tulsa is (ironically enough) muddled and inaccurate so residents will be unsatisfied. On the flipside, he makes a lot of unexplaine ...more
Jun 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2013
There are two good things I can say about Benjamin Lytal’s debut novel, A Map of Tulsa. First, it has a beautiful cover (too bad the author can’t take credit for that!). Second, it was short and did not take long for me to read. It’s unfortunate that the novel had such a beautiful cover because it raised my expectations, but it’s fortunate that it was short because I hated every minute of it. Since it was short I decided I had to at least finish it since I planned on ripping it apart. To all pot ...more
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
Wow. I mean, pretty much fantastic. Not a perfect book, but definitely an excellent one, and for a debut novel, damn. This guy is definitely someone to watch, and unless he pulls a Josh Ferris, following an excellent debut with a concept so ridiculous only the author's mom could appreciate it, Lytal will go places.

Anyway, this is a pretty smart book, and not unlike Teju Cole's Open City, though it replaces most of the intellect and philosophy with emotion. It's really difficult to write about y
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
A MAP OF TULSA. (2013). Benjamin Lytal. **.
I have to admit that I only got about half-way through this first novel. It’s about a young man, Jim Praley, who has dropped out of college and is now back in Tulsa – his home town – for a visit and a tour of rediscovery. On one of his early nights there, he decides to drop in on one of the bar/clubs in a seedy part of town, a place where they don’t card you. There he bumps into an old high school classmate, Edith Altman. They talk for a bit, trying to
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
My husband is from Tulsa and I happened to see this while browsing the local B&N. Being that I have been to Tulsa pretty often, I have had its charms pointed out to me by my husband enough where the small city intrigues me. I always get the feeling that I don't belong there; like Tulsa is some big secret I'm not in on. Always curious, I had to pick up a copy of this.

I went from being intrigued by this book to hating it, to making the commitment to plod through it, to tolerating it, to REALLY
Mar 29, 2013 rated it liked it
The writing is rich and lovely, but in the end I never feel like I really get to know any of the characters, nor do I know what's going on. It's odd, because the story is told from Jim's point of view, and yet I never really feel like I know him, perhaps because he seems to be in such a continuous process of being unsure of who he is, and pretending to be who he thinks he is. In the end he realizes that he never fully opened himself to Adrienne, and I feel like that is true for how he presents h ...more
Sean Owen
Jan 21, 2016 rated it did not like it
This is basically the terrifically bad movie "garden state" rendered as a terrifically bad book. The narrator is an aspiring poet on summer break after his freshman year of college. He meets a quirky painter and they begin dating. There are endless tedious anecdotes about all the quirky and creative and artistic things they do together. I'm not really sure how this ended up in my to read pile. It's about as lightweight and see through as books get.
2.5 stars. I’ve marked this “Young Adult” though that’s not strictly true. The first half veers toward YA the second half not as much. Perhaps it falls into the dreaded “New Adult” category now entering our consciousness.

I bought this because of the word Tulsa. Strange, I know. My (big, huge, loud) family is from Oklahoma and though we’re the renegade Californians I feel a connection to the area. I find it mystifying and yet fascinating at the same time. From the book: “I may have agreed, when p
Oct 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
It’s rare that I am more embarrassed for than hate the author of a bad book. Don’t get me wrong, of course. I do hate this book. The characters are flat, and the writing style even with its odd MFA-approved flourishes may as well be for all the effect it has on the reader. The story itself makes Erich Segal’s Love Story seem daring and innovative. All these things give me ample reason to let my hate flow through me. It’s about the only bit of catharsis I could possibly get from it.

No, what makes
Jun 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Selfishly and totally reader-response-ily of me, I enjoyed this book because I recognized so many of the physical places in the book - The Philbrook, Promenade, the Brady District, The Center of the Universe and more form a fitting backdrop, given the title. This book definitely has some "boy with issues" about it, but really, it's about the old adage that you can't ever go home once you leave. It's about the main character's struggle to realize that the Tulsa he's idealized isn't ever going to ...more
Priscilla Melchior
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
There is a style of writing popular today in which the author feels it necessary to enumerate every sociological item present in each moment. These are the kinds of things that writers notice, the bored looks, the necklaced women, the clichés present in every gathering. Sometimes, I feel like this kind of writer is showing off: "I noticed these things, and you should have -- in fact, you'll recognize them as I point them out."

This is how Benjamin Lytle writes "A Map of Tulsa." Sometimes, I think
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
It is not necessarily a bad thing for a novel to strain credulity. One could even make a case that good fiction should do that. But, there is a problem when a character, especially a central character, is unbelievable. That is the case in this novel. The narrator's girl friend, Adrienne, is simply unbelievable as depicted. You read about her being a high school drop out and then about her poise, her powers of concentration, her insights, and the reaction is "Oh, come on!"
My other main reaction
Feb 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
A Map of Tulsa was okay. I do not feel strongly one way or another about it. I am a long time Tulsan, so I did like seeing my home city portrayed in a positive light. However, I just could not really empathize with the protagonist in the story. One of the few things that stood out for me in the book was when the protag lamented that August was hot. Anyone that has spent any time in Tulsa during the summer knows just what that line means.
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
this is a terrific novel that gets youth, ambition and conflicted feelings about home exactly right..I grew up in Tulsa and I recognized it in Lytal's meditation on its emptiness and beauty..the last third of the novel is a bit muddled but his characters and writing made it worth it.
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this first person narrative about a young man and his home town. But the author's decision to use awkward grammar to portray the main character was distracting. I've never seen so many comma splices of completely unrelated clauses in my life.
Julie Gardner
Jan 01, 2015 marked it as to-read
A book set in my home town
Feb 13, 2013 rated it liked it
He's either a horrible writer or the next literary genius .... Still trying to process it.
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
For Jim Praley, college freshman and aspiring poet, his hometown is a kitschy accessory; an aspect of his past that he can patronise or romanticise for effect in the cultural circles he has begun to move in. Tulsa may not quite be a foreign country, but it is sufficiently strange to imbue him with a degree of exoticism, if handled correctly, ‘mentioning at just the right moments that I was raised Southern Baptist, had shot guns recreationally, had been a major Boy Scout’. Although he has only be ...more
Denise S
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve Kreidler
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
I so wanted this to be great, as it takes place in my hometown. I did enjoy the memory lane of streets, locations, places. But terrible writing. Like wow bad. And the plot is essentially slackish boy chases debutante girl. Things ensue. Blah blah blah.
Notes on Novels Katarina
Oct 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: debut, us-authors
There’s nothing as daunting as going home during your first summer in college with months spread out before you and nothing much to do, except for maybe falling in love.

The first thing that made me fall in love with this novel was the cover – isn’t it gorgeous? I can’t omit this for fear of seeming superficial, so I thought I’d just get this one out of the way. Because the second thing that made me fall in love with this novel was the story. I have never been to Tulsa, but Benjamin Lytal sure ma
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Unsung Stories
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I found this book in August Ninjabookbox and so I must say, it is not a genre I usually read.
But I loved the first part. I really truly loved the image of Adrienne portraited by Jim. It reminded me of the love Dante felt for Beatrice.
But the second part was meh. It somehow had lost its glow, and start to wither. And i started to lose interest.
So well, a truly good book for the first part, but it needed to end sooner.
Alan Bates
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
A Map of Tulsa is a novel by Benjamin Lytal. It has been all the rage lately so hey I had to read it. It is about a guy Jim Praley and a girl Adrienne Booker. They both grew up in Tulsa but didn't know each other until Praley comes back to town after a year of college.

They meet at a party and end up going to Cain's Ballroom and eventually have a sort of relationship. Jim pursues her hard and she give him the old flamethrower and ice cold treatment which of course guys just love.

Adrienne Booker i
David Fulmer
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This intense and riveting coming of age story set in Tulsa is about many things including youth, art, and love. The narrator, Jim Praley, is visiting his hometown after his first year of college on the East Coast. During a desultory summer of hanging out with high school classmates he falls in with Adrienne Booker, the searching, artistic daughter of an oil dynasty who lives in a penthouse aerie above the city in a tower named for her family. He watchers her paint, reads her poetry, and just gen ...more
Howard Cincotta
Jun 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A Map of Tulsa is a combo coming-of-age novel, paean to lost youth (albeit by someone still quite young), and a love story. It succeeds in each of its three parts, even if the whole doesn’t always hold together.

Tulsa has one compelling character, which both its strength and weakness, since none of the other characters can really hold our interest for long. Adrienne Booker, who has never bothered to attend college, lives in a penthouse built by family oil money and does what she damn pleases, whe
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
After his freshman year away at a university out east Jim finds himself back in his hometown of Tulsa for the summer. While home he meets the enigmatic Adrienne who will change his life forever. Over the course of the summer Jim will rediscover Tulsa while mystifying the girl he has quickly come to love. However summers must end, and with the start of a semester Jim will learn how much three months can change a person.

Maybe it's my liberal arts background, or my return to my own hometown after y
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
I have a hard time giving any book over 200 pages that I actually finish less than two stars, but I considered it on this one. Truth is that I mostly decided to read this because the author seemed to have a roughly similar story to my own- grew up in Tulsa went off to a big metro for school and had to try to grapple with how he felt about where he was versus back home. I thought maybe this book would give me an "aha moment" to make me appreciate something, anything, about my hometown other than ...more
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
When I saw that Benjamin Lytal's novel "A Map Of Tulsa" was compared to Michael Chabon's "A Map Of Tulsa," I speed tracked the book to the top of my TBR pile. The novel tells the story of Jim Praley, as he goes home to Tu;sa from his first year of college. he gets smitten by Adrienne Booker, who is a descendant of a prominent rich family in town, and proceeds to have a summer fling with her. But she is some sort of a free soul, and while he doesn't forget about her, they go their separate ways. ...more
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