Showing posts with label David Levithan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Levithan. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Invisibility by David Levithan, Andrea Cremer

Rating: WARTY!

I liked Levithan's Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist which he co-wrote with Rachel Cohn, but I did not like his Everyday, and now I find myself parting ways from him again with this crap.

Like in Nick & Nora, each author is writing a first person perspective, the one for the guy in the story, the other for the girl. It wasn't likable. I tend to really dislike first person voice with few exceptions, and I feel that when you multiply it, it just makes it worse, but that's not the worst problem for me with this story. The worst problem is how unrealistic it is, even if I grant that a boy can be literally invisible. The problem is that this boy shows absolutely no interest whatsoever in his world and doesn't even think of getting up to the adventures and mischief any red-blooded boy would think of if he were literally invisible as this boy is. He's so profoundly and irremediably boring.

The kick to the story is of course that this girl moves into an apartment just along the hall from his, and she can see him, but when they meet, it's set up like he tiptoes past her to go to his apartment. He claims he can't get in because he has to retrieve his key and he doesn't want her to see a key floating in the air apparently, but it's already been established that when he puts his clothes on, they also become invisible, and immediately after he puts food in his mouth, it also becomes invisible, so why wouldn't the key? For that matter, why wouldn't he simply carry the key with him? The boy's an idiot.

If Levithan had said the guy couldn't enter because he didn't want her to see a door open and close by itself, that would be one thing, but he didn't! Even that could have been written-off as someone looking out of their apartment and then closing the door, and I would have bought that. I can't buy the stupid and thoughtless scenario I was presented with here.

The girl is written just as dumbly, because she drops her keys and the boy doesn't offer to help because he doesn't think she can see him, but she can, and she chews him out for not helping her instead of doing what any self-possessed person would, which is put her bags down, get the keys, open the door, pick her bags up, and go inside! In short, she's also an idiot who would rather play the helpless maiden in distress than get on with things under her own steam. What she does is the precise equivalent of the old saw of a woman dropping a handkerchief to get a guy's attention! It was pathetic. She's precisely the opposite of a strong female character and I have no time for female characters like this one.

Do I want to read a story about two idiots and instadore? Hell no. The whole story struck me as short-sighted, artificial, and poorly thought-through. It was obviously a catastrophe waiting to happen, and not in a fun way. I couldn't stand to read any more of it!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Every Day by David Levithan

Rating: WARTY!

Read poorly by Alex McKenna.

I liked Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist which was co-written by this author, although I liked the movie better, but when I began listening to David Levithan's Every Day, I really had to wonder whether I would like it or not. I didn't in the end. It's first person PoV which is bad enough. It's narrated by a girl who sounds so young and clueless, but then the character is apparently sixteen, so I guess it's appropriate, but that doesn't make the voice any less obnoxious. I just didn't like it.

I'm not a fan of first person and this story was bordering precipitously on making me nauseous before it had even really got under way. The reader's voice sounded like everything in life was something of a surprise to her. Her voice had this tone like she couldn't even take herself seriously or that maybe she was joking and hoping you wouldn't figure it out before she reached the punch-line. her voice ended every sentence with a muted back-of-the-throat growl which was nauseating in it's metronomic routine, and made me think of nothing other than a little nasty dog which is still trying to decide if it can get away with biting you.

The premise is that this sixteen year old being (I don't know if it's male or female or even if it's human!) wakes up each morning in a different body, spends one day in it, and then moves on. The being appears to be human as far as I can tell, but I'm not sure. Perhaps it's a god or a ghost! On the morning the story begins, she (I'll call it she because of the narrator's voice) wakes up in Justin's body. He is also sixteen years old and in high school. Why everything - gender, skin color, etc, evidently can vary, but age apparently cannot was a bit of a mystery.

The narrator, who was nameless, seemed far too worldly for her age, although she had been around a bit and not in a promiscuous way, but in other ways she seemed absurdly naïve and juvenile. In the early part of the story, she apparently was oblivious to the fact at she was jumping genders. Nothing was mentioned of how she felt about that, or what adventures she had enjoying all these bodies of both genders it was like it was completely immaterial to her and I simply didn't buy that at all. Yes, maybe she became used to it when she was younger, but to offer absolutely no comments, observations, or reminiscences was just poor writing.

At school she (in Justin's body) runs into his girlfriend and takes a liking to her which she deduces Justin didn't really share. He was pretty much just employing Rhiannon as a utility. The narrator started to like her and contrary to her normal behavior - to not get involved - decided to cut class and spend the afternoon at the beach with this somewhat estranged girlfriend, even though it's the tail end of the summer and starting to get chilly.

As I indicated, the story was nauseating as this sixteen-year-old narrator relates things as though she's whatever age David Levithan is, with all these flowery existential and philosophical observations. It felt like reading a John Greene novel, which I've vowed I will never do again. Nor will I read any more David Levithan if they're like this. I am not a fan of writers who blurt out the most mundane pablum as though it's something which one ever conceived before.

It immediately looked like the narrator - whoever or whatever he, or she or it is - would end up with Rhiannon at the closing of the story. That was my wild guess, but it's exactly what happened. This a very short novel, only 7 disks, so I originally decided I could give it a try-out and maybe even finish it, even though it didn't immediately grab me. I failed. It really was tedious to have to listen to this everyday boring nonsense being related like it was a revelation, and it was especially tiresome to have to listen to it in Alex McKenna's grating voice. I cannot recommend this.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Rating: WORTHY!

This is going to be a much shorter review than I normally give because I already reviewed the movie version of the novel. The two have a lot of similarities, but also a lot of differences. I liked the movie version much better, but I still liked the original novel enough to rate it a 'worthy' read. The novel is quite different from the movie in many ways, while following the same overall pattern. It has different events in it and a lot more four-letter words. I liked the Nick of the novel slightly better, and the Norah about the same, but I found the humor in the movie better. The movie screenplay was written by Lorene Scafaria, so kudos to her for carrying that off so well.

To the differences! In the novel, it's Nick who asks Norah to be his girlfriend, quite the opposite of the movie. In the movie Caroline (Norah's drunken girlfriend who Norah hands over to Nick's bandmates to get her home) escapes and runs away, fearifn she's being kidnaped, but this doesn't happen in the novel. In the novel, Nick and Norah make out in the ice room of a Hilton Hotel, but they don't go all the way, whereas in the movie, they go all the way in a recording studio owned by Norah's dad. In the novel they don't go anywhere near the recording studio. The novel features fewer locations than the movie, too.

The novel has chapters numbered sequentially, but alternatingly headed either with Nick's name (written by Levithan), or Norah's name (written by Cohn). Nick's band is called the Jerk-Offs in the movie but The Fuck-Offs in the novel - I did warn you that it was more foul-mouthed than the movie! The novel does get us a lot further into Nick and Norah's heads than is ever possible in a movie, but not all of that is a good thing. There's a lot to love but also quite a bit to dislike when you get that far into their heads. In the end, if I had to choose, I'd have to pick the movie, but the novel is well worth reading.