Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Julie's Review: Tampa

Summary: In Alissa Nuttings novel Tampa, Celeste Price, a smoldering 26-year-old middle-school teacher in Florida, unrepentantly recounts her elaborate and sociopathically determined seduction of a 14-year-old student. Celeste has chosen and lured the charmingly modest Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his eighth-grade teacher, and, most importantly, willing to accept Celestes terms for a secret relationship—car rides after dark, rendezvous at Jacks house while his single father works the late shift, and body-slamming erotic encounters in Celestes empty classroom. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress of pure motivation. She deceives everyone, is close to no one, and cares little for anything but her pleasure. Tampa is a sexually explicit, virtuosically satirical, American Psycho-esque rendering of a monstrously misplaced but undeterrable desire. Laced with black humor and crackling sexualized prose, Alissa Nuttings Tampa is a grand, seriocomic examination of the want behind student / teacher affairs and a scorching literary debut. ~powells.com  

Review: Tampa is definitely not a book for everyone. You will be curious but if you are prudish or faint of heart, then don't pick up this novel. Seriously. This book reminded me of when I was a tween and wanted to read Flowers in the Attic but I had to sneak to read it. It's not as bad as walking around with 50 Shades of Grey but because off the subject matter I felt a little dirty with it at the pool.

That being said, Ms. Nutting has created quite the deplorable character in Celeste Price. There is truly nothing redeeming about her. It's not like she found herself suddenly attracted to 14 year old boys. She became a teacher to prey on them. It seems her sexual tastes never grew with her body. She's been stuck attracted to boys at 14 since her first sexual experience at that age.

Many people will focus on the subject matter of this novel and while it is shocking, it is not new news. We have all heard the stories of the young, attractive teacher who begins a relationship with the boy in her class. What Ms. Nutting does is gives us a look behind closed doors. What makes her tick? What makes the boy take part in the act? It is these things that kept the book interesting for me. It's about what she will do to gain access to Jack that stuns me. There is a pivotal moment in the novel when not only do you know that she's deviant but also truly evil.

A lot of comparisons will be made between Celeste and Amy from Gone Girl but for me Celeste is truly evil. Amy was psychotic.

Ms. Nutting is extremely brave to write a novel that will be controversial and perhaps looked over for it's brilliance in the way it's written. I can't wait to see what Ms. Nutting writes next.

Final Take: 4.5/5



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