Saturday, July 4, 2009

How to Buy a Love of Reading

To Carley Wells, words are the enemy. Her tutor’s innumerable SAT flashcards. Her personal trainer’s “fifty-seven pounds overweight” assessment. And the endless reading assignments from her English teacher, Mr. Nagel. When Nagel reports to her parents that she has answered “What is your favorite book” with “Never met one I liked,” they decide to fix what he calls her “intellectual impoverishment.” They will commission a book to be written just for her—one she’ll have to love—that will impress her teacher and the whole town of Fox Glen with their family’s devotion to the arts. They will be patrons— the Medicis of Long Island. They will buy their daughter The Love Of Reading.

Impossible though it is for Carley to imagine loving books, she is in love with a young bibliophile who cares about them more than anything. Anything, that is, but a good bottle of scotch. Hunter Cay, Carley’s best friend and Fox Glen’s resident golden boy, is becoming a stranger to her lately as he drowns himself in F. Scott Fitzgerald, booze, and Vicodin.

When the Wellses move writer Bree McEnroy—author of a failed meta-novel about Odysseus’ failed journey home through the Internet—into their mansion to write Carley’s book, Carley’s sole interest in the project is to distract Hunter from drinking and give them something to share. But as Hunter’s behavior becomes erratic and dangerous, she finds herself increasingly drawn into the fictional world Bree has created, and begins to understand for the first time the power of stories—those we read, those we want to believe in, and most of all, those we tell ourselves about ourselves. Stories powerful enough to destroy a person. Or save her.

Gossip Girl meets literature! Well, that's what my sister told me. And you know she was right. I'm not a fan of the show, but I've heard all about it. But back to the book...

I found it hard to get into the book early on, mainly because I thought the characters were lacking substance. But I kept on reading, and those characters that I thought of as shallow suddenly became interesting and full of complexities. Carley, a rich girl with a weight problem, who loves to watch TV and who cares for Hunter no matter what, and in her own way the she helps Bree discover a few things about herself. And Hunter the golden boy, who is fascinated with literature but has a addiction to alcohol and prescriptions drugs.

The story itself was entertaining, full of highs and lows, but it was also funny. And I loved the way the book ended. I enjoyed the concept of the book within a book. Even though I couldn't understand the story that Bree was trying to convey.

How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson (4/5) General Fiction; Published: Dutton Adult (5/2009); New Author; 2009 100 + Reading Challenge (74);

1 comment:

Nise' said...

I've got this one on my TBR list, good to know it may take a bit to get into it. Thanks for a great review.