Sunday, March 11, 2012

Narrative Loserdom by Ryan Collins

Justin Taggart doesn’t know anything (about being a loser). He likes girls and plays sports and has some friends. Unfortunately his fear of rejection outweighs his ability to deal with these well. Mostly there’s Sterling, the girl of his dreams who knows how to stop his heart by not knowing he likes her. Another thing is trying to get money with Adam, who’s rich anyway so it’s more about hanging out. As for Justin, he makes ends meet by mowing people’s yards with Adam, and sometimes by breaking into vending machines and selling late-night cable programming to peers (also with Adam). But it’s not like he doesn’t feel bad about it, since Jesus died for his sins. School is pretty terrible with all the work and practice, but there are a few people there worth mentioning. Anyone who picks up his journal will be in for something, if they feel like getting through a lot of grammar and spelling problems. They’ll probably end up seeing that they shouldn’t have looked at it anyway, because this is someone’s private anthem of girls, grass, and loserdom.

This book’s format caught my attention from the beginning. The chapters are set as journal entries, which is always fun for me. There tends to be an authenticity to the writing in this format that you don’t always get in straight narration. For the most part, this book does accomplish that.

There is a freshness to the narrator’s, Justin’s, voice. A lot about his personality is revealed in the way he writes, in the words he chooses, even more than in his actions, which is what journal entries tend to accomplish. One thing that did throw me, though, was Justin’s seemingly overnight religious fanaticism. I didn’t quite see a smooth transition between his first entries to the ones where he suddenly starts mentioning God every few sentences.

The plot is free, relaxed, with a lazy summer feeling to it (even though it’s not summer in the book). The antics of the two main characters are quite amusing, typical teenage stuff, which makes for a fun, quick read.

There’s not much of a conclusion to the book, but, again, the format tends to do cause that as well. If you like books that are just a little bit different, this one could be for you.

1 comment:

Uomo di Speranza said...

I also love books in a diary format since the raw effect it provides is instantly portrayed.