Wednesday, September 3, 2008

another Holden

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To you by Peter Cameron
Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
Genre: fiction, YA
Review: I did not like Catcher in the Rye. Not the first time I read it (in high school) and not the second time (in my 20s). And this book is little more than Catcher in the Rye updated for the 21st century. Except they still use words like "faggy".

James, which at least is a better name than Holden, has not been kicked out of school, but has just graduated from high school and is considering not going to college, although he's scheduled to begin at Brown in the fall. Aside from a somewhat meaningless job, he spends his time being introspective and disaffected, and seems determined to remain so. He does strange, antisocial things for no apparent reason and with no apparent thought of the consequences and then not quite understanding why people are upset about what he did.

I can't quite put my finger on why I had a problem with this book, or why I don't like Catcher in the Rye. I guess characters who know they're acting in an asocial way and refuse to acknowledge why other people might think they're a little strange just bother me. It's fine to be asocial, but a character (at least an intelligent character, as both James and Holden are supposed to be), ought to have enough insight to understand that they're outside the norm, which is going to be troubling to some people.


C. B. James said...

Sounds dreadful. Thanks for the warning. Judging from the cover, I might have bought it.

mmz said...

well, you know what they say about judging books by their covers...