Monday, May 17, 2010
SOMEDAY THIS PAIN WILL BE USEFUL TO YOU by Peter Cameron
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (2007)
This could quite possibly be the shortest review ever: READ. THIS. BOOK.
But I'll take it a bit further. I have honestly never read a book before this one that made me laugh so hard and also want to cry, and sometimes those reactions were within a mere page of each other.
James Sveck isn't your typical 18 year-old guy. He may seem so on the outside, but once you get into his head, it doesn't take long to see the difference. I was instantly enamored with this character. Instantly. (Go ahead, snap your fingers. It was quicker than that.)
We start out by meeting his dysfunctional family. And I can hear you groaning, "Oh, every teenager in a YA novel has a dysfunctional family, how lame," but no, seriously, James' family is beyond messed up. But even so, they have this unexplainable endearing quality to them that makes you want to care.
The main plot point is that James isn't sure about going to college. He'd rather spend the tuition money on things of greater importance and lasting value, like buying a house in the Midwest and living alone. That's what he wants to be. Alone. Away from the hubbub of the city.
Or so he thinks.
Once we (the readers) kind of understand the inner workings of James' mind and his current situation, we're then led to an incident that happened a few months prior, which then led James into psycho-therapy, which then, although it doesn't seem like it at first, leads him into making some proactive decisions.
And then of course, effing everything up, as 18 y/o messed up dudes have a tendency to do.
I've added this book to my list of "must reads for teens" as it deals with some heavy issues and would expose them to a culture/way of thinking that they might not otherwise encounter. Depression, suicide, homosexuality, divorced parents, insecurities about the future, post-traumatic stress, social expectations, death... all of those are touched on in this book.
Also, the dog is cool. You'll like the dog.
A BIG THANK YOU to this great lady for recommending this literary delight!
This book was previously reviewed by Book Book reviewer Kristin Dodge on February 20, 2009. Click here to read that review.
And because I loved this book so much, I was blogging about it before I'd even finished reading it. Click here to read a few more of my thoughts, if you so desire.