My Loose Thread
4 journalers for this copy...
Cooper's latest, after a loosely intertwined series of novels ending with Period, stays firmly rooted in the same bleak, volatile landscape as his past works involving neglected, gay teenaged boys. Perpetually distraught teenager Larry, whose mantra is "I'm really confused," joins forces with a friend who has been approached at school by older classmate Gilman Crowe, leader of a Nazi-style teen group, and hired to kill a student for $500 and destroy his notebook, basically a diary containing the boys' personal secrets. The deed is done, but not exactly according to plan, and the violence continues. Larry and his 13-year-old brother habitually sneak into bed with each other, though Larry continues to be at war with his burgeoning homosexuality. An alcoholic mother and cancer-stricken father offer little supervision, and Larry's brutal rages escalate. When another of Larry's friends, Rand, tells him his incestuous relationship is "sick," Larry punches him; Rand dies soon afterward, apparently of natural causes, but Larry is crushed by guilt and haunted by the death. Cooper's bleak, potent tale wraps up in a Columbine-style climax, complete with smirking, self-righteous students watching the bloodbath with amusement. Cooper doesn't cover much new territory with this latest ultraviolent tale of boys gone wrong, but Larry's first-person narration is mesmerizing and believable. Those new to Cooper may be better off starting elsewhere in his oeuvre, especially since it can be hard to follow the sequence of events in this spare, dialogue-driven tale. Still, Cooper fans will likely eat this up.
I will be sending this off to firegirl this week.
I've been wild releasing a great deal lately, but the only places I think this would be really appriciated are too far away for me to get to with my busy schedule these days. I've offered it up as a RABCK, though, so it should be moving on soon. Thanks, Jare!
Was Larry gay? Was his brother? Was he molesting his brother, or was his brother seducing him? Was everyone molesting Jim? Were all of Larry's friends gay? Or none of them? Did any of them even think about whether Larry was gay? Or was Larry just insane? Did it matter whether any of them were gay, or had sex, or did anything?
The writing was difficult to follow, but I don't know that it could have been otherwise. Larry was clearly disturbed. And I think all of them were, though it's hard to say since our narrator was so demented and indecipherable. Many parts of the book were just painful to read about, but more than that, I just couldn't make sense of it all. Did he kill the people he thought he killed, or didn't he? What was the fascination with the Columbine killers? It seems like we were dealing with mental illness, substance abuse, sexual abuse, and psychosis, and we were trying to make sense of it.
In the end, I didn't make sense of any of it. Maybe I was't supposed to. Maybe that was the whole point of the book.