Monday, May 24, 2010

Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl

The unthinkable has happened. I thought it would never happen, but here it is, time to blog, and I am reviewless! Sure, I am scrambling to finish "The Man from Beijing," but realistically, I won't be ready to write about that for at least a few more days. So, how to fill in the space -- in a meaningful way -- between my last post and what's to come?

Digging into the recesses of my memory, I pulled out this gem. In this extremely quirky first novel, a young Blue Van Meer relocates for the umpteenth time with her widower college prof father. I think I must be a sucker for young, smart-alecky female protagonists, which probably reflects on my barely concealed need to wow the world with what I try to pass off as my own smart-alecky flashes of brilliance (I'm also reminded of Lorrie Moore's protagonist from "The Gate at the Top of the Stairs" here). Blue is super-smart, chatty and inquisitive and falls into a clique with similar types, a group that is shepherded by a magnetic teacher-mentor who ends up dead, hanging in the forest.

As I refreshed my memory about the plot, I scanned other reviews of Pessl's book, and had to laugh at the many reviewers who commented on comparisons between Pessl's plot and Nabokov's "Lolita," minus the underage sex part. So much for my flashes of brilliance -- maybe in my next life I'll read Nabokov, and all the rest of the great literature that has passed me by. Meanwhile, speaking of classics, the new Bachelorette begins tonight and my girls and I have a date to cuddle on the couch and watch the worst that network TV has to offer. And don't get me started on junk TV, or I'll have to clue you in on my favorite, an existential show that teaches the most fundamental of life's lessons -- treat your spouse and children kindly: "Wife Swap."

No comments:

Post a Comment