|(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)|
After spending his teens in juvenile detention, Monty is released to find he has nowhere to turn except back to the friends of his youth. But neither B.J. nor Erin know how to have him in their lives anymore. As kids, B.J. and Monty shared the anguish of being forgotten children, playing basketball and wandering the streets, but B.J. has since aged out of her tomboy persona and into a sexually-confused woman in an adult body she doesn’t understand, particularly when Monty is the first guy to view her as a woman. Although Erin Broder never gave up on her friendship with Monty, she doesn’t know where he fits into her upward-bound life, which is filled with professional parents, varsity track, and an Ivy League destiny. To the Broder family, young Monty was a charity case, a kid from the wrong side of Tremont Street, a novelty friend they hoped Erin would outgrow. So what happens when she doesn’t? With sharp language and unflinching honesty, Kara Weiss depicts a complex reality where adolescent friendship is less like a two-way street, more like a six-way interchange with broken signals.
I like short stories, novellas, and vignettes. Jhumpa Lahiri, Yoko Ogawa, Haruki Murakami, Kurt Vonnegut, and Sandra Cisneros are some of my favorite authors because of their short storytelling prowess. So, when I was offered the chance to read Weiss' new book, Late Lights, I jumped at the chance. Described as interlinking novellas depicting the raw ugly reality of growing up neglected, conflicted, and abused I was ready to fall in deep with this book. It took me under an hour to get through the stories and afterward I was left feeling a bit disappointed.
Weiss writes about a trio of childhood friends who are no longer really friends. They have been growing apart for quite some time - Monty is a juvenile delinquent who was locked away, Erin is heeding her parent's advice and attending college, and B.J. is surrounded by unruly brothers and a cloud of depression as she struggles with gender identity issues. As each story unfolds, you wind up with bits of information about each character and their roles within a fractured friendship that just won't seem to end. I have to be honest and admit that I can't really understand how these three were ever friends - they all seem so self-involved that I'm surprised they ever even wanted friends. And though I did feel badly at times for Monty, Erin, and B.J., I ultimately found it rather disheartening to read about how each one seemed intent on sabotaging their own futures. I found their stories to be rather predictable and wasn't at all surprised by the way things turned out for each one. In fact, that was the problem I had with this book - the formulaic feel of each story and the stereotypical depiction of each character. There was no getting lost in a story with this book - I found myself flipping pages quickly in anticipation of the end. Overall, this book was not my cup of tea.
However, I don't want to dissuade you from this book, because you might wind up loving it. So, here's the link for the book tour schedule of Late Lights - Check it out!!
TLC Book Tours and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!