Author: Theodore Weesner
Genre: Contemporary Fiction YA
First Published: 2012
Page Count: 387
Film/ TV Adaptation: No
Rating: 4/5 Stars
A young man’s coming of age story that can easily stand beside the classics.
*Good flow between flashbacks and current story *Interesting, ever-changing plot
“Alex was sixteen; the Buick was his fourteenth car.” After a spree of car thefts, Alex Housman finds himself facing serious charges that could send him away to a school for juvenile delinquents. However, his life has never been very rosy to begin with. His father constantly drinks, his mother is a mystery to him, and he doesn’t fit in at school. Separated from his younger brother and facing common teen trials like bullying, Alex must overcome his troubled past in order to find his place in the world.
I’ve never been a fan of male coming of age stories; I just can’t relate to them at all. However, Weesner’s book and the character he created had me hooked. I enjoyed the way the plot moved because Alex Housman is constantly getting into difficult situations, whether it is from his actions or another’s, and you can’t help but root for him to succeed. The mix of flashbacks to his childhood only add to the reader’s attachment to the character because you know he wasn’t raised with a cookie-cutter childhood. I find most main characters in coming of age stories to be extremely irritating with their practically bipolar mood swings and negativity, and while Alex Housman has plenty of those, his story was far more interesting than any part of say, The Catcher in the Rye, to me.
The one thing that did make this story difficult was the beginning. I couldn’t immediately get into the story because it starts out smack dab in the middle of one of his car thefts. At this point the character seems cold and unfeeling in his urgency to swipe whatever vehicle he can get his hands on. It’s after you start learning more about his childhood and his current family life that you begin to feel for the character. However, that doesn’t flesh out until the middle of the story, so for a while I just felt like I was along for the ride while I tried to understand this complex character and his motivations for acting out the way he does.
Once you’re into the novel, you can’t help but be consumed by its story. It’s never clear whether the main character is actually ever going to reform which keeps you guessing to the very end and even after the book is closed. Weesner did something that I was fairly certain would never happen for me; he wrote a male coming of age story that I actually enjoyed. Alex Housman is the Holden Caulfield for our generation.
*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.