Saturday, February 18, 2017

Every Exquisite Thing, by Matthew Quick

Nanette's favorite teacher gives her a copy of the out-of-print cult classic The Bubblegum Reaper.  Reading it, she becomes obsessed with its Catcher in the Rye-like story of non-conformity.  Her own life is on a pathway to success (popularity, sports acumen, good grades, etc.) but the book opens her eyes to the way that her life has been missing authenticity and meaning.  She tracks down the novel's reclusive writer and makes contact with other fans.  And she and these young fans seek the answers to their lives which have been missing.  Along the way, there a variety of successes and mistakes.

An interesting story that will resonate with outsiders and introverts (i.e., the vast majority of bookish teens), although Nanette's ability to move among both popular cliques and outsiders will be alien.  The search for greater meaning is universally adolescent.  Surprisingly, while the topic is well-trod, there's room for Quick to have a few fresh things to say.

As a result, the story has a timelessness to it that will give it some legs, but is there really room for a new classic about the shallowness of modern civilization?  Do we need more rejection of the  cynical adult world?  Or are we too attached to media spin-offs and stories about superheroes?  For those who are looking for relief from mass-commercialism, this is the book!

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