Sunday, April 01, 2007
The declaration of whatnow?
So here I am, expectations lowered to non-existent because before me is a MTV Books title. MTV? And it's called The Pursuit of Happiness? Who's Tara Altebrando?
Betsy's working at one of those re-enactment villages weighed down in the heat of summer by too many layers of period clothing. She's stuck working with a goth freak from school, and if that doesn't sound bad enough, her mother dies of breast cancer. Then her boyfriend gets flaky and her friends don't quite know how to talk to her anymore. Turns out the goth freak and that cute Princeton bound carpenter may be the only friends she has in a time she needs them most, now that the itchy costumes of the past become a refuge from her present.
I was shocked. Shocked, I tell you, about how good this was. Now, I admitted to having zero expectations from it, but even then it exceeded what would have been normal expectations. Every thread was tied up nicely so nicely in the end. It was refreshing. I didn't put together one little revealing element until the last page out of shear obliviousness, but it turned out to be a lovely varnishing theme to the novel.
Ok, now that I've convinced you that I really did enjoy this, I'm going to be frank about one element. Carpenter Boy (er...James) has got a girlfriend who is severely depressed. I've been around depressed people, and I understand aspects of Carpenter Boy's situation. I'm by no means an expert, but I had some issues with some of the things surrounding that plot line. Especially Betsy's interaction near the end.
Sara mentions that she'd give this title to fans of Sarah Dessen, and I think that she's right on with that one. It will work for fans of A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life and Cures for Heartbreak as well.
(Yes, Sarah B, this means you ought to read it.)
You can do the MySpace thing with Altebrando, too.