Wednesday, January 09, 2008

someday this pain will be useful to you by Peter Cameron

James is 18 and spending the summer before college working in his mother's art gallery which is not busy, leaving plenty of time to use the Internet and to chat with a fellow employee. His very dysfunctional family consisting of mom, recently returned from her third failed marriage (didn't even last the honeymoon), his older sister who is dating a married man a father that seems to show up when there is trouble, a grandmother to whom James frequently runs when the world gets too big for him. No one is very fleshed out, really not even James who is a loner and wants to be, doesn't want to go to college, wants to use the money to buy a small house in the midwest (he lives in New York City) what he would do for food and utility bills not addressed, what he would do other than sit in the house alone, not addressed. He was initially in therapy because of a disastrous field trip in high school but that seems to stop abruptly, not ended, not finished, just disappears from the story. James's need to be away from people, confusing relationships (something he thought of as an innocent joke is labeled sexual harassment for instance), lame people who misuse language, his pitiful mother and sister with whom he has a middle school style sibling rivalry is easy to relate to. Many of us can even find ourselves in this story to but ultimate something is missing and the story just ends! It doesn't really finish. just like the disappearing therapy sessions suddenly James is ok with going to college, his grandma has died but he shows no emotion, his sister has moved on from her relationship the end. I felt the same way about Its Kind of a Funny Story by Vizzini which lacks the edgy quality one would expect from a story of a suicidal teen.
JDW 1/9/08

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