Wednesday, January 03, 2007
1. "Special Topics in Calamity Physics" ~ Marisha Pessl
Blue van Meer is a clever teen beginning a new year at a special prep school after her father, a visiting professor, changes jobs for the umpteenth time. She is adopted by a part-time teacher, who has also taken several other students (the "Bluebloods," i.e. the popular clique) under her persuasion.
I say "persuasion" because that seems to be the entire purpose of Hannah, a slightly off character who divines too much interest in these much younger students and too much attention to their feelings about her and each other.
Someone once said that a book is only as intelligent as its author. In this case, Pessl must have an I.Q. of 180. This, however, does not translate into a good novel. In fact, after the kitschy-ness of toss-away literature, religious, and history references wears thin(shown as in-text citations like a good MLA style student), it is like plodding through a thick muck of pretentiousness.
And then there is a murder about 475 pages into this 500-plus page doorstop. Blue hashes it out in a quick narrative that spans 20 pages or so. It's meant to tie up a lot of hidden clues planted throughout the first pound of pages. Most readers won't realize they were meant to put on the detective cap and, if like me, will rebel.
I picked this hoping for a light young adult read to enjoy over the holidays. Not young adult. Not light. Not ever again.
2.0 out of 5.0 Acid Cookies.