It Hurts When I Poop! a Story for Children Who Are Scared to Use the Potty eTeau Marmont bungalow about her she just describe the damn person Do some real work MarishaAnd oh how Marisha Pessl loves similes and metaphors She and Augusten Burroughs should get together and have some kind of simiphor off Sample Pessl snippet Charles and his friends looked forward to the hours at her house much in the way New York City s celery thin heiresses and beetroot B picture lotharios looked forward to noserubbing at the Stork Club certain sweaty Saturday nights in 1943 see Forget About El Morocco The Xanadu of the New York Elite the Stork Club 1929 1965 Riser 1981I have two problems with this kind of writing1 I don t know the way New York City s celery thin heiresses and beetroot B picture lotharios looked forward to noserubbing at the Stork Club certain sweaty Saturday nights in 1943 So this metaphor is completely useless to me Why can t Charles and his friends just look forward to the hours at her house2 The damn parenthetical references They re throughout thentire book It s probably supposed to help clear up my first problem with this passage but it only serves to remove me from the story in two really stupid ways 1 I stop reading and go look it up or 2 Since I m reading a book about a high school senior who can t possibly know all of the books and references in parentheses I can only assume this is Marisha Pessl being an annoying smartass with this kind of crappy Authorial IntrusionThere s also Visual Aids throughout the book Drawings by the author Really annoying Really stupid Absolutely unnecessaryAt one point there is a blubbery Mercedes If anyone can send me a picture of a blubbery Mercedes Authwhore will award you with a free book that is better than Special Topics in Calamity PhysicsAt one point people say their names with paint by numbers politeness This is a problem because paint by numbers are not polite They can be tacky painstaking time consuming fun childish whimsical or any number of other things but I don t think that there is anything polite about paint by numbers and certainly nothing polite about a writer using such poorly chosen imagery with reckless abandon and intending people read 514 pages of itAt one point he Here With Me (Together either stared at the kid as if he were a Price is Right rerun barely blinking or replied in his molasses accent Nunna ya goddamn business How do you stare at a Price is Right rerun Well Pessl knows that no one knows so she tells us You barely blink Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhshouldn t she then just have wrote that he stared barely blinking instead of staring as if he were a Price is Right rerun barely blinking Yes Yes she should have And that is why this book is categorically officially absolutely bad If you re still wondering howxactly you stare at a Price is Right rerun this book will also leave you wondering how you look at a snag in tights Riveting stuff reallyAt one point Officer Donnie Lee happened to have saturated himself in Paul Revere like cologne it rode far ahead of him alerting all of his impending arrival Which doesn t ven work Paul Revere rode to warn people not of his own arrival but of the British s So I guess that s why it s Paul Revere like But isn t there a better image for something that travels ahead to WARN OF ITSELF A FOG HORN PERHAPS A SCREECHING of itself A fog horn perhaps A screeching on a truckAt one point Hannah was wearing a housedress the color of sandpaper The color of sandpaper Pessl how imprecise can you be Is there a worse writer What type What grit What brand I ve seen gray sandpaper black sandpaper brown sandpaper rust sandpaper beige sandpaperAt one point the narratorprotagonist has a fight with her father and proceeds to throw books at him I was really hoping to learn that Marisha Pessl had some true postmodern class and sense of humor by having her throw this book at himIt didn t happenI threw my own copy insteadFor the record Marisha Pessl is still hotNot Sophie Dahl hot But still hot I ve read other reviews and I believe the negative reviews have been written by people who didn t take time to really read
THE BOOK AND FOLLOW IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH book and follow it all the way through would be asy to do It s not a book would be Wicked Lies (Men of Summer, easy to do It s not a book can speed read See Ulysses by James Joyce Sometimes I ll tear through a good book in a couple of days But there is so much in this book that you have to take your time to really comprehend it and get the good stuff out of it Marisha s writing techniue is totally uniue with her hundreds of references to great works of fiction movie stars reference books and otherxplanations of behavior I laughed and Grave Tattoo enjoyed perhaps 60 percent of these and whipped through some of them not uite following but knowing they d be worth studying if I were retired and had time Basically this is a coming of age story The main character Blue has been raised by an intellectual professor who is always on the move dragging her around the country to different jobs with different universities Her mother died when she was very young so her only deep relatinship is with her father And it is a very touching and loving relationship She becomes his Mini Me in many ways They land for her senior year in a very highnd private school and as she is maturing and pulled into a group of cool kids by a very interesting and Georgia and the Tycoon eccentric female teacher her life starts to change as she tries to become a cool teenager to date and party to become than a smart but nerdy professor s perfect little daughter As all of this happens she starts to realize that her father has a few flaws has been having flings with women and treating them poorly that he has lied about some of his meetings with other professors and that there may be some kind of secret second life going on There is murder disappearances first sexualxperiences shyness mbarassing moments of being young and tongue tied in front of a class but than anything there is the touching love of a young girl for her father and then how she deals with some unexpected heart wrenching blows to her life Throughout the book there were dozens and dozens of laugh out loud moments xcellent insights into relationships and the little things that make us tick And A Conspiracy of Ravens (Lady Trent Mysteries even though much. Clever deadpan Blue van Meer who has a head full of literary philosophical scientific and cinematic knowledge But she could use some friends Uponntering the Lakeside Redemption elite St Gallway School she finds some a cliue ofccentrics known as the Bluebloods One drown. .
This is a uniue book in that you really won t understand the point of anything until you finish What have I learned I ve learned that apparently it s possible for a large number of fawning reviewers to confuse pretentious with intelligent I very likely got what I deserved when I chose to ignore a clear warning namely the so called Glossary of Terms inside the dustjacket which introduced our 16 year old heroine Blue van Meer as a brainy deadpan preternaturally In Pursuit of a Princess erudite girl whohas a head crammed full of literary scientific and philosophical knowledge Admittedly I was taken in by the somewhat amusing andngaging first page but after thatimagine spending 500 pages with a sheltered socially inept overly verbose adolescent know it all YuckThe kindest thing I can say about this book is that it s desperately trying to be a long winded young adult version of The Secret History with a nasty case of Purple Prose But at last at the very Second Time Loving end of the twisting gravel road was the house an awkward wooden faced coy mistress clinging to half a hill with bulky additions stuck to her sides like giant faux pasBut wait there s There was no sound in the claustrophobic hallwayxcept Zach s breathing which heaved like the interior of a conch shell I could feel his yes dripping down me coursing through the folds of Jefferson s crispy black dress that resembled an upside down shitake mushroom if you suinted at it The silvery black fabric felt flimsy as if it could stiffly peel away like tinfoil around cold fried chicken nuff said Let me start by saying that I did like this book I did Ms Pessl is probably too smart for her own good but that s never stopped me before That said as with most over intelectualized writings I had trouble getting close to her to her work There s such a lot of time spent obfuscating demonstrating how clever she is developing stacked metaphors and allusions that the story is difficult to get lost in You are constantly reminded that you are reading a novel by a very smart young lady And while some of the characters are xtensively developed Hannah Jade Blue s father most of the others including our heroine Blue remain very flat She most of all has so little Dark Awakening emotion that it s difficult to believe her on the few occasions when she freaks out when she cries or yells you wonder Where did that come fromAlso some of my friends have complained rightly that the last fifty ish pages seem to belong to a completely different book thatverything changes drastically right at the nd without ample warning Which true true Although I guess that didn t bother me so much because of course once it switches you can go Oh so that s why that happened and that and that But still I guess it was a little hard to swallowIn any case the book is definitely compelling interesting imaginative original tc Family Men etctc And really it s only her first book so she s got lots of time to improve I ll read her next one for sure This is a story told through books themselves a whodunnit a coming of ager Some will find this book too gimmickythe use of a syllabus outline the visual aids the fact that the first word of the book is dad and the last word is me thus
encapsulating the Creative Participation entire story arch the finalxam But this book made me feel the waythe Sabina Spielrein entire story arch the finalxam But this book made me feel the way did during a college lecture on Lolita where the professor broke down Lolita by numbers the of the license plates
The Hotel Numbers Etc They Allhotel room numbers Cognitive Radio Networks etc They all and anagrammed their way into a ridiculous formula at thend And so it turned out that not only was Nabokov churning out a literary masterpiece but a mathematical formula as well Who knew Certainly not 21 year old Me It might be gimmicky but these sort of books are the literary Personnel Management in Government euivalent of walking while chewing gum while playing the cello the authors are strange maestros of many art forms And so I ve concluded that Nabokov is the silent invisible uncle of Special Topics Pessl s patron saint and not just because of the butterflies and the old professorprecocious girl pairing I tried with this book I gave it 150 pages and at this moment in time I just can t get into it The constant literary allusions and pop culture references mixed with the didactic and wordy writing style kept pushing me out of the story I d skim whole paragraphs just to find the important plot moving parts of the sentences I held out hope for this one because I chose it for book club sorry friends and it s been on my shelf for 2 years so I felt like I had to conuer it But it s only day 3 of 2017 and I don t want to start off my year forcing myself to read a book I m notnjoying Out of This World even if that means uitting on the first book of the year Now I m on to better reads I really wanted to like this bookBut it s a train wreck The literary carnage is so grotesue and horrifying you can t help but look read And I promise you just take my word for it that metaphor is better than most that Pessl uses in this debut novel of hersDespite what Bayard says it s amazing what happens when you stop talking about a text and actually interact with it I ll tell you what happens disappointment Utter utter disappointmentFor all intents and purposes the book doesn tven start until the second half when a certain major character is found dead by the narratorprotagonist As readers we learn about the death with the first line of Chapter 1 Before I tell you about Hannah Schneider s death I ll tell you about my mother s So The Time It Never Rained essentially the first half of the book amounts to literary blue balls in which Pessl torments us with bad writing and we writhe in agony praying for releaseIt is a common formula to take the wit and wisdom of an adult and transplant it into an adolescent from Catcher in the Rye to Juno Pessl brings this trite techniue to a new low Unlike the social relevance and humor of Diablo Cody or the sparse unfathomable brilliance of Salinger Pessl just writes with broad strokes and clunky rhetorical devices Her writing is hyperbolic andxtreme She seems to pride herself on regurgitating ndless references and allusions but I would prefer that instead of describing someone as having the air of a Cha. The mesmerizing New York Times bestseller by the author of Night FilmMarisha Pesslâ€™s dazzling debut sparked raves from critics and heralded the arrival of a vibrant new voice in American fiction At the center ofÂ Special Topics in Calamity PhysicsÂ is. Of the book was somewhat tongue in cheek the main themes came through to me loud and clear and when I finally finished up after re reading the introduction a must unless you have a photographic memory I put the book down sad that I was finished and hoping that there will be some kind of follow up Donna Tartt wrote a splendid book called The Secret History which both celebrated and skewered hyper intellectualism as well as xplored the process of interacting with a text and the pleasures of narrative devices This book follows roughly the same storyline and incidentally the storyline of Daniel Handler s The Basic Eight down to the study uestions at the Childrens Phantasies endxcept there s absolutely no reason for the precious chapter titles and the annotated references they have no bearing on the story itself and the general ffect is talking with someone who s read a lot of books and hasn t understood a damn one of themThe irritating dialogue is reminiscent of chick lit than of anything spoken in real life or in the realm of drama and the narrator is utterly divorced from the grand intellectual she is supposed to be again see The Secret History for an xcellent depiction of young scholars No one has any sort of believable The Soviet Union emotional reaction to anything because no one has any discernable personality traits Charles Camilla and Frances wander over from Tartt s novel to halfheartedly play roles as Charles Leulah really and Nigel and then get bored and leave after the story inexplicably becomes a murder mystery The only possible killer is so obviously telegraphed fromarly on that all of Blue s supermarket paperback mystery sleuthing is nragingly tiresome Also there s some sort of limp romantic subplot that I guess we re supposed to care aboutSo where The Secret History is a brilliant story of the delights and dangers of text and narrative and a wrenching depiction of a classical sort of madnesss Special Topics in Calamity Physics is the same book shat out and frosted with irritatingly perky metaphors and the worst dialogue I ve seen outside of a Harleuin pulper If you want to read this book and aren t a fan of Donna Tartt just read The Basic Eight w There s a special cold black place in my heart for writers under thirty who come out of nowhere with a best selling much praised first novel for which they receive huge advances and instant fame The feeling is called jealousy deep shoulda been me jealousy that clouds my ability to judge the book itselfWhich brings us to Marisha Pessl and Special Topics in Calamity Physics Every big review I read of it was glowing and very writer under thirty I talked to said it was a piece of steaming shit but that I should totally read the novel they re working on Turns out that my opinion falls somewhere suarely in the middleThe parts of the book that failed were the overly uirky bits and the gimmicky bits Although the narrator is characterized as smart and scholarly much of the book is over written Science, Technology and Culture especially during slow periods What do I mean by over written Describing a pair of boots as being the shape of Italy or someone s face being shaped like a box of Valentines Day candy Say the boots were shaped like boots Say the woman had a heart shaped facePessl leans hard on the simile and the metaphor in this book many times at thexpense of simple straightforward description By having a complex intelligent narrator she s trying to say I m doing it on purpose but it still seems indulgent and silly and ultimately keeps us holding her world at arm s lengthPessl also struggles with dialogue and realistic characters often I found myself thinking that high school student would never say that or that gas station attendant
would never say that All of the characters tended to soundnever say that All of the characters tended to sound same and think the same Sure if it was a high school student Pessl would add some likes and a reference to J Lo but mostly the person would sound like the voice of the narrator a voice which I am guessing is the voice of Pessl herselfBut there is some beautiful writing in the book Entire chapters were I ll say it riveting Without No Beast So Fierce exception the riveting chapters were the chapters with a lot of action in them chapters where it felt like Pessl forgot that she was a writer trying to impress people with her first novel In these chapters boots were boot shaped the language was natural and the characters got to act like themselvesThese good chapters led me to the conclusion that Pessl s problem might be discipline She doesn t know when to cut out the cute or overly wrought stuff yet The Writing Buddha says kill your children and Pessl time and again couldn t manage to do that The result is a book filled with things that made the author smile dalliances and clever asides that don t do muchxcept make the book longer I suspect SHE ALSO LACKED AN EDITOR WHO also lacked an ditor who kill those children for herThe plot was aight It was a pretty basic murder mystery formula and I guessed the nd 150 pages before the Last Chance Bride end happenedven though I m not good at guessing Whos Cheatin Who? (Thoroughbred Legacy endings It would have been much better and much fast moving if again someone author orditor had cut it down to a manageable lengthWhere does that leave us I think Pessl s got some talent I think that for a first novel this was an achievement On the other hand she s got a ways to go and I hope all of the praise does not set her firmly in some of her ways Talent is something you re born with and being born with talent is Lawman Lover (Outlaws, easy Now she s got some hard work ahead of her about learning when to hold back and about learning about the human condition outside of her own privilegedxperiences Reviews of Special Topics in Calamity Physics and the Bottle of A a Juice I Bought for Lunch Cleverly Masked as SAT Test uestionsChoicesa Special Topics in Calamity Physicsb The bottle of a a juice I bought for lunchc Both a and bd Neither a nor buestions1 I had heard good things about it2 I bought it on a whim3 If feeling City Girl in Training extremely charitable I might call it frothy 4 It seemed sort of good in the beginning but by thend I was like Blaahahhgajh End Mystery at Kittiwake Bay endnd 5 Contains metaphors that go down like a junebug having li. Ing and one hanging later Blue finds herself puzzling out a byzantine murder mystery Nabokov meets Donna Tartt then invites the rest of the Western Canon to the party in this novel with visual aids drawn by the author that has won over readers of all age.