I loved the movie of this book. That is why I chose it for The Eclectic Reader Challenge. So I had expectations. Perhaps that was the problem. In my head, Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon and a vivid portrait of high school life in America. Whichever way round it is – a beloved book or movie – it is often problematic when you approach the other version. (That’s why I still haven’t been to see The Great Gatsby and why I didn’t love The Life of Pi.)
The main problem for me was the switching between narrators. There were two problems with this. First of all, as they were all telling the same tale and it was linear, jumping between narrators was irritating and didn’t add much in the way of viewpoint, especially when sometimes the narrator might only have one or two paragraphs before someone else took up the tale again. The other problem was that none of them seemed that distinct from each other. They were lacking in personality.
The plot did drive me on though. And the theme of corruption in high school mirroring the corruption in American politics was clever and interesting but when it came done to it, the rigged election was a bit of a damp squib. I wasn’t attached enough to any of the characters to really care. Who was ruined by it and who wasn’t didn’t have an impact. The whole thing left me cold.
Maybe I would have liked this better if I hadn’t seen the movie. It’s hard to say. Without expectations, we are less disappointed. At the end, I just thought, well, there you go, that it finished. Nothing more or less than that.
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