Paula Sorensen

Sorry but this book was boring and very odd. Perhaps I am too far removed from the author's generation to understand it. It seemed like aimless ramblings. The main character....I could not connect with him at all. What is the morale of this story?

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Dustin I'm not sure there is a moral to the story. For me, it's about the feeling of isolation and depression as a teenager. How it manifests itself, how this character tried to deal with it. The kind of quiet momentum that builds up in a young persons troubled mind, and how it can pull them under, without really ever understanding why. And it's about choices and crossroads, and how you accept your choices from the past, and deal with their repercussions. Trying to move forward but still looking back, even when you don't want to. It's not really a "here is an answer" book, it's more of a "here's what this feels like" book.
Jason I'll agree that it's odd, but I didn't find it boring at all. I was gripped from the first page.

I think the book tells us that not all puzzles are solvable and that looking for clear motivations for human behavior is as productive as playing an unsolvable role-playing game like the novel's Trace Italian. What I enjoyed the most about the book is that it offers plenty of potential clues to explain the main character (role playing games, songs with subliminal song lyrics, violent Conan the Barbarian fantasies) but they all seem to be red herrings in a mystery with no outcome.

I loved the book. I'm a little younger than the author, but maybe there's something to it being a Gen-X novel. Not sure.
Rob Are books only valuable or interesting if the main character is like you? I'd say that the value in many narratives, this book included, is the opportunity to get inside the head of someone radically different from you.

Morale of the story? I don't think approaching books like Aesop's Fables is going to ever be productive.

But a point of the story may lie in 1) understanding the mindset of that kind of tortured youth, 2) an examination of how fantasy worlds can help heal, but can also be dangerous to those who abuse them, and 3) that one can find grace and meaning and value in one's past and self, including the ugliest, most vile bits of past and self, and come to something resembling joy.

People keep describing this novel as bleak, but everyone seems to forget that, chronologically speaking, the last moments we see of Sean are really moments of joy.
Matthew Desmond The morale of the story is low, I think. Heh. But seriously, if you're reading books for morals, you picked the wrong writer. I don't blame you for not liking it. This is a bleak, intricate work of psychological literary fiction, not the kind that gives any easy answers. Better stick to Fannie Flagg, or whatever.
Janet I think you mean "moral of the story" not "morale." I am in my 50s and still felt very connected to the character. I was drawn in by Sean's imagination, as well as the author's. The book is quite dark, and I do feel it portrays the mind of one very imaginative and sensitive adolescent boy in a way that is believable and allows us to "get inside his head." I can also see that some people may see the book as an indictment of over-indulged fantasy and role-play, although I'm not sure the author meant it as such.
Mike Cempa
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Zoyd Wheeler It made the
"The 40 Best Novels of the 2010s"
someone must like it.
#12 Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
Frank I think the moral of the story is we are born into Stockholm Syndrome.
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by John Darnielle (Goodreads Author)
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