Translated from French, Bard’s English-language debut depicts a 16-year-old boy who has an addiction to pornography.
Lucas Delveau spends hours each day holed up in his room watching porn. He forgoes basic hygiene, gains weight, starts doing poorly in school, and avoids friends. He’s also sworn off all interactions with girls ever since he fantasized about a schoolmate named Samira, then sent her an unsolicited naked photo and she reacted negatively. (Later, a therapist brushes off this unwanted sexual advance as merely “clumsy”). His parents find out about his porn habit and take away his devices. In a suicide attempt, Lucas jumps out of a fast-moving car and gets sent to inpatient rehab. The narrative jarringly switches between the perspectives of Lucas and his father (and occasionally his mother), all presumed white. Lucas’ parents’ points of view highlight their obliviousness and disgust with their son’s porn use. Lucas’ father says, “He makes me want to puke. He’s a pig.” While the author tries to distinguish between human rights abuses in exploitative porn versus feminist productions, problems unique to the digital age versus the experiences of earlier generations, and healthy expressions of sexuality versus addiction by an underage viewer, the distinctions could have been made clearer. Some of the language also presents a derogatory attitude toward fat people.
A provocative work that could have been more nuanced. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14-18)