Thursday, August 1, 2013

ARC: Tampa by Alissa Nutting

Publisher: Ecco
Publishing Date: July 2nd, 2013
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Pages: 272 pgs
ISBN: 9780062280541
Source: Borrowed ARC from a fellow blogger for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
Celeste Price is an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. She's undeniably attractive. She drives a red Corvette with tinted windows. Her husband, Ford, is rich, square-jawed, and devoted to her.

But Celeste's devotion lies elsewhere. She has a singular sexual obsession—fourteen-year-old boys. Celeste pursues her craving with sociopathic meticulousness and forethought; her sole purpose in becoming a teacher is to fulfill her passion and provide her access to her compulsion. As the novel opens, fall semester at Jefferson Jr. High is beginning.

In mere weeks, Celeste has chosen and lured the lusciously naive Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his teacher, and, most important, willing to accept Celeste's terms for a secret relationship—car rides after school; rendezvous at Jack's house while his single father works late; body-slamming encounters in Celeste's empty classroom between periods.

Ever mindful of the danger—the perpetual risk of exposure, Jack's father's own attraction to her, and the ticking clock as Jack leaves innocent boyhood behind—the hyperbolically insatiable Celeste bypasses each hurdle with swift thinking and shameless determination, even when the solutions involve greater misdeeds than the affair itself. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress driven by pure motivation. She deceives everyone, and cares nothing for anyone or anything but her own pleasure.

With crackling, rampantly unadulterated prose, Tampa is a grand, uncompromising, seriocomic examination of want and a scorching literary debut.

My Review: 

Well I am going to start this review by saying that this book is full of explicit adult content.  As a result my review will also be discussing some pretty adult content.  If you are uncomfortable with this I completely understand and please pass this post by.

This novel is a very difficult story to read. It is told in the perspective of a female named Celeste who teaches middle grade. From the very first line in this book it is quite obvious that her intentions in being a teacher are less than angelic. Celeste is a sexual predator looking for a ripe young boy to seduce.  She is hyper-sexual and is not able to control her thoughts or her desires.  During the course of this novel she masturbates constantly, seduces two young boys and proceeds to have sex with them often.  This is all graphically detailed in the novel and it is not an easy thing to read. 

I have to say that while I found this novel disturbing, I really like the way Nutting made me think about things. When males seduce young girls they are called sexual predators and this is definitely a negative thing.  When females seduce their students or younger boys they tend to spin it as love.  It is hard for society to view females in such an aggressive, hunter-type role so it is manipulated to make it seem like love.  Our gender roles dictate that women are ruled by their emotions and so it's hard to envision a woman like this cut off from their emotions and ruled by raw animalistic impulse.  Celeste definitely manipulates everyone in her life.  She has everyone believing that she is a dedicated wife, teacher and friend while in reality she hunts defenseless pre-pubescent boys and lures them to do exactly what she wants. 

Every time I thought that it couldn't get any more horrific a new even more despicable thing happens.  I think I spent the whole novel with my jaw on the floor in disbelief. As a reader, you can't help but feel manipulated by Celeste. There are times when she is humorous (in a dark and twisted way) and you find yourself being entertained by her.  Then you stop and think: Whoa! This is messed up. She is not entertaining.  She is a monster.  The entire time the only thing she thinks about is herself. Everything she does is for her benefit and she has absolutely no remorse for her actions.  She isn't bothered by the slightest that she is destroying people's lives. 

I equate this novel to a car accident on the highway.  As you drive you by you can't help but watch and peak to see what happened even if you're not entirely sure you want to see the outcome of it.  I couldn't put this book down and it stirred up lots of emotions. It is a very good book but it is not for the faint of heart.  If you are squeamish in the least then pass this one up.  If you are willing to be a little disturbed but emotionally and intellectually challenged then this is the book for you.  I can't wait to see what else Nutting puts out in the future. 

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read this one yet, but every time I read a review (and there have been so many lately!), I think of the "car crash" image that you used. I want to read it, I can't help but be interested, but I know the results are going to be gruesome. haha. Great review!