Kelly's Reviews > Syrup

Syrup by Max Barry
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's review
Oct 22, 2011

really liked it

I started reading Syrup last night and, after thirty minutes, I had to tear myself away. I wanted an early night. Today, all the STUFF I needed that early night for sat untended as I settled into a cosy corner of the couch and finished the entire book. I took one break for food.

Luckily, at three hundred odd pages, Syrup is not a long book. In fact, it’s just the right length (for an indulgent morning on the couch), which is refreshing. I’m all for reading an epic trilogy, but sometimes you just need to get to the end of a story to see what’s happening and, without cheating and flipping to the last page, the only way is to forsake life and read.

Syrup is the tale of a rather engaging young man from Iowa who lands in California and dreams of making it big. He wants to be famous and he actually has the wherewithal to achieve his dream; but first, he has to survive being utterly squashed by conniving and ruthless denizens of Corporate America.

Aside from Scat himself, what I loved about this novel was the writing. It grabbed me from the very first page. It felt sophisticated and clever, but not inaccessible. Scat’s ‘voice’ is extremely clear and very personable. Regardless of the author’s age at the time of writing, Scat felt 23. I really enjoyed the way the story was presented too, the varying chapter lengths and the way the story was broken up by exposition in the guise of chapter titles. The little lessons on marketing were not at all distracting and, combined with the typography, helped define the message of the book: perception versus reality. The story was funny, but not hilarious. I don’t think it needed to be. Scat could laugh at himself and the author could also laugh at his creation, which kept the novel grounded and lent a feeling of realism, despite the Hollywood-like circus unraveling from page to page.

I found the ending very satisfying. In fact, one of my favourite lines in the book comes close to the end. Sneaky Pete asks Scat, “Haven’t you learned anything?” Regardless of whether Scat has or not, when Sneaky Pete asked this question, I had one of those goofy grins on my face. You’ll have to read the book yourself to find out why.

I picked up this novel in order to read it before the movie comes out. Having read it, I cannot wait to see how the story unfolds on the big screen. I am a fan of Kellan Lutz and, while I would like to see him in the role of the endearing young Scat, I am equally eager to see him play someone sneaky. I am also eager to hear author Maxx Barry talk about the film and to read more of his novels.
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