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This was a really interesting examination of race-relations, culture, privilege, sexuality, and education. The premise was really solid and the some of the themes were examined well. At times though it felt as though this book was trying to hard to make it's point. It's tangets and attempts at meta analysis worked against it's overall impact. So good but not great.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
There were so many flashes of brilliance in this novel, so many parts so funny I laughed out loud, so many parts so sad I ached. Yet somehow, the story as a whole got off the tracks and I found myself really bored by the end.
But the first paragraph! That first paragraph contains what might be the very best character introduction ever written. In it, the author summarizes the life story of the main character’s life up until he goes to college in one glorious, rapping, poetry slam of a run-on sentence:
“D’aron the Daring, Derring, Derring-do, stealing base, christened D’aron Little May Davenport, DD to Nana, initials smothered in Southern-fried kisses, dat Wigga D who like Jay Z aw-ite, who’s down, Scots-Irish it is, D’aron because you’re brave says Dad, No, D’aron because you’re daddy’s daddy was David and then there was mines who was named Aaron, Doo-doo after cousin Quint blew thirty-six months in vo-tech on a straight-arm bid and they cruised out to Little Gorge glugging Green Grenades and read three years’ worth of birthday cards, Little Mays when he hit those three homers in the Pee Wee playoff, Dookie according to his aunt Boo (spiteful she was, misery indeed loves company), Mr. Hanky when they discovered he TIVOed ‘Battlestar Galactica,’ Faggot when he hugged John Meer in third grade, Faggot again when he drew hearts on everyone’s Valentine’s Day cards in fourth grade, Dim Dong-Dong when he undressed in the wrong dressing room because he daren’t venture into the dark end of the gym, Philadelphia Freedom when he was caught clicking heels to that song (Tony thought he was clever with that one), Mr. Davenport when he won the school’s debate contest in eighth grade, Faggot again when he won the school’s debate contest in eighth grade, Faggot again more times than he cared to remember, especially the summer he returned from Chicago sporting a new Midwest accent, harder on the vowels and consonants alike, but sociable, played well with others that accent did, Faggot again when he cried at the end of ‘WALL-E,’ Donut Hole when he started to swell in ninth grade, Donut Black Hole when he continued to put on weight in tenth grade (Tony thought he was really clever with that one), Buttercup when they caught him gardening, Hippie when he stopped hunting, Faggot again when he became a vegetarian and started wearing a MEAT IS MURDER pin (Oh yeah, why you craving mine then?), Faggot again when he broke down in class over being called Faggot, Sissy after that, whispered, smothered in sniggers almost hidden, Ron-Ron by the high school debate team coach because he danced like a cross between Morrissey and some fat old black guy (WTF?) in some old-ass show called ‘What’s Happening!!’, Brainiac when he aced the PSATs for his region, Turd Nerd when he hung with Jo-Jo and the Black Bruiser, D’ron Da’ron, D’aron, sweet simple Daron the first few minutes of the first class of the first day of college.”
[I listened to this as an audio book performed by MacLeod Andrews. I wish the performer had differentiated between the voices of the characters a bit more. At times it was hard to tell who was talking. I think I might have enjoyed this book more if I had read it.]
1 of 1 people found this review helpful