Thursday, February 25, 2016
Review: Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach
Author: Tommy Wallach
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 1 March 2016
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia
I received this book from Simon & Schuster Australia for review.
“I’ve got some questions for you. Was this story written about me?”
“Yes or no?”
I shrugged again, finally earning a little scowl, which somehow made the girl even more pretty. It brought a bloom to her pale cheeks and made sharp shelves of her cheekbones.
“It’s very rude not to answer simple questions,” she said.
I gestured for my journal, but she still wouldn’t give it to me. So I took out my pen and wrote I can’t on my palm.
Then, in tiny letters below it, I finished the thought: Now don’t you feel like a jerk?
Parker Santé hasn’t spoken a word in five years. While his classmates plan for bright futures, he skips school to hang out in hotels, killing time by watching the guests. But when he meets a silver-haired girl named Zelda Toth, a girl who claims to be quite a bit older than she looks, he’ll discover there just might be a few things left worth living for.
From the celebrated author of We All Looked Up comes a unique story of first and last loves. (summary from Goodreads)
Wallach has done it again. Thanks for the Trouble is brilliant - funny, powerful and honest.
I quite loved this book and I just want to gush on about it, and yet this is actually a hard review for me to write. Other than that summary above and that it was written by Tommy Wallach, who's debut We All Looked Up I also loved, I knew nothing about Thanks for the Trouble. I just had to read it. And I'm so glad I did. But now, writing this review, I don't want to give anything away. I truly believe you should read Thanks for the Trouble knowing as little about it as possible and just go with it. Wallach has us questioning the impossible and it's up to us as readers to choose what we believe. I know what I believe and I don't want to influence others. So here's what I will say. Thanks for the Trouble is amazing. Like We All Looked Up, Wallach hits us with some way out there idea and then portrays a story that is realistic, gritty and impacting, despite the seemingly unbelievable. Wallach strikes this perfect balance between fun and adventurous, and heartbreaking, life-altering meaningfulness that makes the whole book an emotional and touching journey. You're with Parker, every step of the way. Written as a college admissions essay, the entirety of Thanks for the Trouble reads like Parker is talking directly to the reader. I found it slightly off putting at first, especially as Parker kind of rambles or has a long winded point to make, but the story is too wild not to get caught up in, and quickly enough I was completely hooked. I ended up loving the writing style as it suited the fact that Parker communicated through writing in journals. I also really loved the fairytale-esque stories included throughout the book, that Parker writes. Their evolution and connection to Parker's own story was a really great touch.
I really liked Parker's voice. Reading from his point of view gets across just how much of the world he wasn't seeing, how he'd completely stalled. He's cynical and oblivious all in one. My only real complaint about Parker, and thus Thanks for the Trouble, is his choice in regard to the phone call Zelda is waiting for. For personal reasons that really got under my skin and for a while it affected my reading of the book. It's still something that kind of eats at me, but I was able to mostly let it go. With every new adventure Parker opens himself to the world and those around him that little bit more and it's surprising and genuine. I loved Alanna and the chess club nerds. I liked that they make a mark, just as Zelda does. But what to say about Zelda? She was definitely my favourite thing about Thanks for the Trouble. She's smart, wise, crazy, lively, and sees the world in a way that effects Parker and readers. What truly awes me about Wallach's writing and this book is the way he is able to put into words these huge, deep, meaning of life kind of thoughts; some that I couldn't even imagine but they're right here in this awesome prose and so many times I had to stop and think "Yes. This." and just appreciate it. All of them are wrapped up in Zelda and her story, and reading Thanks for the Trouble is like Parker's weekend with Zelda. It's wild and crazy and sad and inspiring and brilliant and makes you question, think, and reevaluate.
Read Thanks for the Trouble and decide for yourself. Do you believe or not?