A young man struggles to cope with his raging hormones in this sexually charged novel of murder and lust.
Bobby has big problems. His parents split up after his mother admitted to an affair. He just graduated, works at a bar and lives with his relatives next to a woman who routinely opens her windows while changing and entertaining men in the bedroom. Bobby turns to his family for advice about sex, but he finds the most compelling help comes from a married woman who makes it clear she’d happily give Bobby some hands-on experience. Add to this mix a high school girl Bobby likes whose virginal reputation has also caught the attention of a guy who carries around a lewd picture he claims is of her. The picture leads to all sorts of mayhem for everyone involved, including pornography, blackmail and death. While White’s (Dirty Girl, 2010) novel leans heavily toward the sensational, his careful plotting in his new book reveals a masterfully manipulated chain of connections. When the characters speak, however, they all sound alike, each preaching a heady, conflicting mix of sexual adventurousness coupled with heavy-handed judgments about what is or is not appropriate for consenting adults. The book tackles several serious issues with an offensiveness insensitivity: An attempted rape of a young woman causes concern, but Bobby hopes the assault has only made her easier to seduce; women explore their sexuality together, only to crumble afterwards with self-loathing, reviled by others; a paralyzed man admits he can no longer be a real father to his son now that he is only “half a man.” What could have been an exciting sexual romp via the perspective of a libidinous teenager turns into a moralistic and intolerant exploitation of sexual proclivities and orientations. The story seems intended to excite and then shame the reader with each graphic sexual encounter.
A cleverly plotted novel that chastises its characters for their sexuality.