Friday, July 18, 2014

REVIEW: Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas

122992Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Original Publication Year: 1996
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary(ish)
Series: NA
Awards: None
Format: Honest to god paperback
Narrated By: NA

I picked this book up several years ago based on the force of my love for Veronica Mars. The book was written way back in 1996, when Rob Thomas was coming off 6 years as a high school journalism teacher and Veronica was just a gleam in his eye.

The story is told by Steve, pothead and National Merit Scholar, as he hazes through his senior year until the school’s guidance counselor takes him in hand and asks him to write a story. A story about how he became a pothead and so disengaged with life. If he does this, the guidance counselor will ensure he graduates. So Steve begins to write the story of his Sophomore year spent living with his cold, disapproving astronaut father in Texas. His parents are divorced and he’s taken his mom’s side but is forced to live with super successful dad. His response is to try and be as non-conformist and as weird as possible. He falls in with other like-minded souls and even falls in love for the first time but it all ends in heartbreak. Which is why he is a pothead, now living with his mother in CA. His intelligence gives him a chance to do good in the world but can he get over his first love and get out from under his father’s shadow in order to take that chance?

Rob Thomas definitely knows a little something about being a teenager in the early 1990s. He definitely captures accurately and painfully the awkward, fearful wanting-to-be-unique-but-also-be-the-same-as-everybody-else sort of brain damage that most teenagers have. Thankfully he does this liberally infused with the same snarky, clever wit that was/is a hallmark of Veronica Mars. I laughed out loud on a regular basis; from the quippy banter and from the ridiculous behavior and situations that litter teenage-hood.

Unfortunately for me this just isn’t my sort of thing anymore. Maybe even 10 years ago I might have embraced and loved this but somewhere along the line I turned into the curmudgeonly get of my lawn sort of lady. I don’t feel nostalgic anymore for my high school years. I had held onto it for a good long embarrassing time but reading this book made me realize it is really gone so I found Steve’s “struggles” and subsequent bad behavior amusing but not really engaging. It’s solidified my feelings that while I have been reading a good bit of YA in the fantasy genre, straight forward contemporary YA holds no allure.

I guess the real question is: will teenagers like it? I think so. It’s a bit dated but the core themes, if not original, are definitely universal. Thomas’ way with the clever dialogue and humor is also a huge selling point. It’s also pretty short so can be consumed pretty quickly.

Final Verdict: Not entirely my thing anymore, but it is still quite good. Certainly worth reading if you enjoy Rob Thomas’ way with a script.

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment