The Holy Terror

A possible retreat from goodreads ... though I'm tempted to yell "get off my lawn" at this site's tumblresque-ness. Yes, that's totally a word.

The Marbury Lens

The Marbury Lens - Andrew Smith Meh. It wasn't that bad, it wasn't that good; it was barely middling. A unique and fascinating concept that got bogged down by constant repetition, an ending that sputtered, and completely unimaginative homophobia. I was originally drawn to this title because of how disturbing I heard it was; inappropriate for young adults, gruesome and gory, disgusting. Unfortunately, it wasn't all that bad. True, there were some parts that were a bit gross, mostly all the puking the hero does, but really, it's no worse than what you can find if you watch any horror movie. If I was a teenager still, this is the type of book I would probably pick up, but now, if I was a librarian or bookseller, this isn't something I would hand to a 12-year-old to read. A story that contains cut-off genitalia and mutilated corpses is not something I would blindly recommend, even to an adult. With that being said though, I personally have read worse in terms of gore.The author has obvious issues with both nudity and sexuality, and I think to a less mature mind these ideas could be damaging, more so than the violence. The constant homophobic comments by Jack's friend are ridiculous, immature, and offensive. Jack almost gets raped by a guy in the beginning of the book, and then he gets molested by another guy on a plane, and throughout the whole book we're beaten over the head with "being gay is bad." This is, to me, the most disgusting part of this whole book. And then, just about every character spends some part of the book naked as well, and I'm not entirely sure why. Plus Jack's friend constantly ribs him for being a virgin, and then they both have copious amount of sex with girls whom they've just met and confess to "love." There's also a side story with a completely different character who gets hanged after he has sex with the girl he loves. I was just ... astounded by all of this. Every single instance of sex in this book has issues, and there's absolutely nothing healthy about any of it.Jack is not a character you can like easily; he's kind of a dick. He has people who love him, yet he pushes them away and acts like a tool most of the time, even before the whole kidnapping thing. His best friend, Connor, tries to help him, but by the time he gets there it's already too late. Jack's two buddies in Marbury were slightly more likable, but I still didn't think I spent enough time with them to really get attached. The girls who were introduced were throwaway characters; they could have been hit by a bus and I wouldn't have cared. Seth's story was heartbreaking, and the one I enjoyed the most, even though it was so short. And Henry ... was Henry even real? I have no idea.As for the plot, here's the short version: Boy gets drunk, gets kidnapped and molested but escapes, boy travels abroad and meets weird guy who gives him strange glasses that allow him to travel to an alternate hell dimension, boy's friend joins him abroad and calls him "gay" 587 times, boy and friend meet girls whom they have sexual relations with, boy's mental state slowly declines, hilarity ensues.The opening shows us a terrifying glimpse of what can happen when you trust the wrong person. Jack's slow decline into madness after his kidnapping and subsequent use of the glasses could have been used as an allegory for drug use - depression - ptsd - or what have you, but the author never took it that far. He kept taking it just to the point where it could be really meaningful, and then he'd pull back and ruin the moment. This book could have been so much more than it was, and in the end I was just left disappointed. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone.

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