Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy
|Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A bold experiment of a story told entirely through lists. It's fun but 600+ pages are just too many to sustain the device. We were worn out by it. Darren is entirely relatable but again, the list format puts up a bit of a barrier between reader and central character. A brave attempt but it doesn't quite come off.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 656||Date: April 2013|
|Publisher: Simon Pulse|
|External links: Author's website|
Darren has had a pretty rotten year. His parents split up. His brother went off to college. His best friend went off to live in a different state. And he's still having precious little luck with girls. And if all this weren't enough, his mother hops on a plane to California one day, leaving him in the care of his father, who has a big revelation to make. And when we say big, we mean BIG. HUGE. MAHOUSIVE.
So, in full-on freak out mode, Darren bunks off school in favour of jumping on a bus and going to visit his brother at college. You can't really blame him, can you? Perhaps he'll find some sanity there. Or a future with the strange, eccentric, charismatic girl who came along for the ride...
The first thing you need to know about Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You is that it is written entirely in lists. Yes. All 600-plus pages. Some lists are very list-y - just one word or phrase per entry. Some lists have multi-paragraph entries. But the entire book is comprised of a succession of lists. It sounds like a great idea, doesn't it? Super-cool and super original. And what teenager doesn't like writing lists?
But it doesn't always work. This is a brick of a book - and although it has an easy, flowing style, it is not easy to sustain the device over all those pages. And the format puts up a bit of a barrier between reader and central character so one doesn't identify sufficiently with Darren. Some of the lists aren't really lists at all; they're narrative chapters dressed up as lists. I began to tire of the format about halfway through and by the end, I didn't have nearly enough investment in the denouement. It was a shame. I would have felt better about it if the lists had been interspersed with standard narrative sections OR it had stuck to the list format but edited into something much shorter and tighter.
Even so, I felt for Darren and his kitchen sink drama, coping with a bickering family, the unravelling of secrets, a burgeoning first love and all the other tribulations of a coming-of-age. There are moments of laugh-out-loud humour and moments of real painful emotion. And the supporting cast is well drawn.
There was a lot to like in Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You. It's just a shame that the format and the length didn't bring it to the fore.
Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd also features a road trip by a teenager trying to face up to a truth about a parent. You might also enjoy Unhooking the Moon by Gregory Hughes or Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray.
You can read more book reviews or buy Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy at Amazon.com.
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