Saturday, 9 June 2018

Bedside Reading - American Teenagers

Reading in bed is serious reading, not just for putting me to sleep.  There's a small pile of paperbacks on a precarious triangular shelf by the bed, and three of them have bookmarks a few pages in, meaning I have actually started them.

With one the bookmark is at page 32, that's as far as I've got in three weeks and I'm not likely to get any further. In one of Waterstones' three for two deals, I picked it up in the shop because I quite liked the cover but mainly the title intrigued me - Paper Towns - by John Green. Shows how important titles are!  I read the blurb on the back and a couple of the reviews, but I should have read them all. It's not a badly written book, in fact the use of the language and structure is fine, but it hasn't really engaged me. It's my problem, do I really need to read yet another coming of age story set in small-town America? 

It's not as if there's been a shortage of them over the years. I've read some of the best - Catcher in the Rye when I was an actual teenager and To Kill a Mockingbird which made an impression as it's actually in the POV of a girl - very unusual at the time. My favourite is Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees - a strange, beautiful, dramatic story of a lost girl being cared for by three beekeeping ladies.

Anyway, American teens are always all over the TV/cinema; I've enjoyed Buffie the Vampire Slayer, The Breakfast Club, The Lost Boys and even Heathers. But now I've been there, a very long time ago and I have far too many tee-shirts to really care about the self-obsession of American teenagers!

I should have read all the reviews of Paper Towns, it's described as, "A coming of age American road trip that is at once a satire of and tribute to its many celebrated predecessors."  OK. For me there's only one road-trip book - Jack Kerouac's On the Road.  And so the answer is I probably don't need Paper Towns - by John Green, so it's likely to find it's way to the Oxfam shop. I'm sure it's a perfectly good story and I don't suppose the author will really mind that it's not for me, I hope not as my lack of interest isn't a judgement on his book. I have paid for it, so he gets his probably miniscule royalty, and it will be passed on to benefit charity and for others to read. I hope they do enjoy it.

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