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SkinnyDippingIntoBooks

Skinny Dipping Into Books

I like the rain. I want to have a spring bookworming rain party full out with wellies—but not those Hunter Boots; absolutely not—, with yummy airy things like puffed pastries, meringues, mini fluffy cheese cakes, mousse dessert, macaroon, biscuits, crepe, and Earl Grey tea, definitely Earl Grey tea.  and Tillandsia. We'd have lots of "air plants". Lots! And We'd read, but not anything structured. We'd bring books, trade books, read out-loud, pass books around between sentences and paragraphs. We'd leave with books we hadn't discovered.

 

I like books like I like my Jazz; euphoric, dangerous, occasionally a bit manic, sorrowful, bleak, raging, mood-incongruent, mournful, unforgivingly ragged, symbolic in a quiet way, warm apple pie for the soul. Give me a Plath style. Yōko Ogawa, M. Roach,


Criteria: Not rated on likability of characters. Not objective. I like Moxie Soda; chances are you don't.


time spent in that before bed reading slot:

5-until blurry eye 4-Later than I intended, but I still kept to my extended, extended reading time 3-I really should have been to bed an hour ago  2-customary 30 minutes. 1-book. side table. eyes closed.


How are common themes handled?

5-With an aesthetic that repurposes everyday themes into something fresh. Think of Hole Celebrity Skin covered by Cat Power  4-there is a comfortable air of familiarly.
3-Deja Vu 2. No deviation from its mates  1. Devastatingly trite, redundant, and stale.

Where would you keep it post-reading?

5-Next to my bed.  4-it's the center piece of my favorite bookshelf 3. On my other favorite bookshelf, but it's a bit dusty over their 2-Great cheap bookends 1-It never made it out of the box marked 'moving'.


Emotional response-

5- Where is my teddy bear? Emotional-hangover 4- If I wasn't so emotionally stunted I'd cry.
3. Did James Cameron co-wrote this? Artfully contrived. 
2- calculative emotional manipulation. This was literally written by James Cameron.1- I…feel…..nothing.

Mechanics (plot structure, voice, presentation, word choice, sentence structure, characters, writing style, pacing, and consistency):

5-Chanel 4-Prada 3-J-Crew 2-Gap 1-Old Navy

Currently reading

The Complete Stories
Flannery O'Connor
I am No One You Know
Joyce Carol Oates
Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls
Alissa Nutting, Alissa Nutting

Hat Not...

Hat Trick - Jeff Adams

To say this is sort of a mess is like saying wearing green with red together should only be sort of avoided on the other 364 days of the year; it’s a freaking obvious.

First persons are tough, and I am tough on first persons. They need to really support some fucking stellar primary and secondary characters, or they just wither and die.

This one, in essence, is a wither and die-er.

It takes place during senior year. Simon, our classic closeted Y/A character fancies Alex. Simon, who assumes this is all unrequited love, evades expressing his affection until one night the two are at an away game. It is all ‘boy scouts camping trip’ scenario stuff.

Alex and Simon fall hard for one another, but, like many of these sports themed gay Y/A books, it must remain quiet. And things are relatively calm at first. They keep things all covert and secret agent, until they confide in Jackson, who is one of their best friends. But this is cool, because of course Jackson is all set on being THAT ally.

While these two youngins fall in love, Simon has to deal with a tumultuous family unit. Simon lives in a neglectful and abusive family unit. This is a freaking understatement. His brother reminds me of Buzz Mccallister. I KID YOU NOT! He is one of the worse, most contrived characters. His dad is portrayed as this flat, emotional, reckless husband and father, and we are hit over and over the head with this so many times it’s unbearable. We get it; he’s a dick. The element of the 1950s submissive housewife just beats this even further into the land of tortured and overwrought novels.

And even though Simon and Alex are careful, their secret gets out. The Buzz Mccallister look-a-like brother is at the center of this mess. The repercussions are big, huge, maasiveeeee, some would say all soap opera like. Others would say, “this was published?”

Eventually the team finds out, and we see the expected results. The news slowly makes it’s way to the rest of the school, and rather than being totally closeted and scared they embrace the coming out; well, almost. Alex’s family is supportive for the most part, and so are a few other families. There is the rising risk of harming their potential college futures, and as time proceeds this chance increases to an almost certainty. There is homophobia, especially from teammates, yet it doesn’t really hit anything realistic. Relationships are changed, but in an unrealistic extreme sort of way.

What proceeds is absolutely ridiculous. Simon’s abusive brother is implicated in an assault and murder and his father engaged in something straight out of S. J. Watson’s cookbook. J.H. Trumble’s beautiful Don’t Let me Go is clearly a source of inspiration, with scenes almost replicated from its pages. We have a dance where men dance with men as some show of comradery and support  (think Out of Pocket YMCA) and there is partner abuse. The way it's written is almost sickeningly familiar. We also see the same sort of ‘wrap up’ interview style ending that faulted Out of Pocket. It is all sorts of irregularity and carbonic paper.

The theme of hockey is handled well, and for those who read the blurb and think this will be heavily submerged with sports references, fear not, it is handled lightly and in a way that contributes to the overall story.

Characters do share individual voices, but that isn’t especially difficult when the majority of the writing is saying rather than showing and when info dropping is adopted as a second skin. The novel is shrapnel for typos, and the lack of dialog tags is dizzying. The weak writing coupled with a poor attempt at character development makes this almost ‘Another Gay Movie’, laughable. Something Like Summer was successful with this because it embraced its campiness, Hat Trick, however, read less as intentional attempt at laughing at itself and more of a lack of focus, which I ended up laughing at.