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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Review: Dear Life, You Suck

Author: Scott Blagden
Released:  March 26, 2013 
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley
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Summary:  Irreverent, foulmouthed seventeen-year-old Cricket is the oldest ward in a Catholic boys’ home in Maine—and his life sucks. With prospects for the future that range from professional fighter to professional drug dealer, he seems doomed to a life of “criminal rapscallinity.” In fact, things look so bleak that Cricket can’t help but wonder if his best option is one final cliff dive into the great unknown. But then Wynona Bidaban steps into his world, and Cricket slowly realizes that maybe, just maybe, life doesn’t totally suck.
My Favorite Lines:
"What I want to tell him is that me and Art have a problem.  The same way me and God have a problem.  I mean, this scene is so out of this world, so inhuman and infinite, so boundless, so worthy and eternal.  And human life is just so not.  Yet I can't deny a connection.  An intermingling.  A gravity.  A pull.  I mean, it sucks at my soul. " 
Why I Loved It:  For me, this is a hard review to write.  I decided to read this book due to my challenge to myself to read more books from merely male MC perspectives.  There are so many YA books that are from a girl's POV.  SO MANY.  When I read Jesse Andrew's debut last year, I thought maybe I should expand my reading.  So I did.  And I read Dear Life, You Suck.  So here is my honest review:

I didn't love the book as a whole.  There were things that were interesting to me though.  For one, I love the name Cricket.  It's such a strange name.  But I also liked the way Cricket saw the world around him.  For him, life wasn't so great.  But somehow, in all of his "swagger", he managed to view the good in his world along with the bad.  I can respect that.  I really liked the nuns in the story *because of course there are nuns* because they seemed to be always pushing him to be more and never giving up on him being that something more.  Cricket is in love with Wynona, and I really liked her.  I could relate to her in more ways that one.  And finally, I really like how the author portrayed Cricket's awe of what he calls "God Art" and the way he used that awe in relation to Cricket's doubts about God.  Those doubts can be a bit testy when you live surrounded by nuns though.

What I didn't love that much was the way Cricket talks.  It's a bit extreme and overwhelming after reading page after page of what I had deemed "Cricket speak" about a third of the way in.  Let me give an example:
""Settle down, munchkins.  And move in closer.  I don't want no outside ears eavesdropping on my testy-frying tribulations."  Grins flash, whispers hiss, and scraggly-haired heads rubberneck.  The Little Ones are used to my worditatious confabulations."     
After reading a whole book of that kind of word play, my mind started to hurt.  It was just too much for me.  I thought the book was a bit reminiscent of J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye with the "smart kid swagger" kind of talk in the book along with the fact that half the time you had to stop and wonder if the main characters were making sense.  Cricket also had a bit of a drug problem, in my opinion, and he spent a lot of time smoking.  The problem I had was that he had a different name for his marijuana like every time he went to smoke.  Smoking in general is not something I am a huge fan of, but at least pick one name and stick with it.  He also spent time helping his friend Grubs collect on his drug business.  Cricket spent a lot of time protecting the other kids in the orphanage, dubbed the "Little Ones", but yet he helped his friend collect on kids that may have been the same age.  It seemed a bit contradictory.

Overall, I wasn't a big fan of the book, but it may have just been my taste.  If you like a lot of word play, you may love this book.

Who Should Read It: I may recommend to people who LOVED Catcher in the Rye.  The same kind of idea is in play in this book.

1 comment:

  1. Although this book does sound interesting and I do already have it on my TBR pile I thank you for the review. I'm not sure how I feel about the way Cricket talks. That would really hurt me head.


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