Tuesday, July 29, 2014

These Things Happen by Richard Kramer (2012)

I'm really torn here, because I started out loving this book - so much so I shared a passage I found particularly humorous with my husband - but by the end, I was ready for it to be over (and it's a short book).  It was really funny at the beginning but turned this dark, dark corner - not even really turned, but sort of wallowed around the corner in this bloated sort of way, that made for some almost unpleasant reading by the end.  It's a New York Book for sure - genetically related to Edith Wharton and Judy Blume and The Catcher in the Rye and Seinfeld (although not a book) and From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and every single musical ever written about New York City.  Like the city, the book, particularly half way through and beyond, was crowded and noisy; the paragraphs tended to run together.  A clown - yes, a clown - says at the beginning " This is New York, right?  We're all so close.  You have to breach boundaries and respect them at the same time."  Which is basically the plot in a nutshell - nice of Kramer to do that for us.  I make it sound like I hated this book,which I didn't - I would highly recommend i it and thought some of the writing was particularly beautiful.  Kramer describes 15 going on 16 year old Wesley:

"In his fatigue and lostness I see the ways in which he's still like a bird, really, species Boy urbanis; he's smaller at night, on a bench, resting from the hard work of being a hormone vat, a cell divider, a gather of evidence against us.  A bird, exactly.  Which means:  careful; be a nest, not an answer; don't' risk crushing the forming, mysterious bones."

Kramer beautifully portrays a certain kind of New York intelligentsia boy, subtly and with love.  The gay couple he portrays is beautifully written as well, using cues and scenery and dialogue and hints to illuminate cracks in their relationship.

These Things HappenThese Things Happen by Richard  Kramer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm really torn here, because I started out loving this book - so much so I shared a passage I found particularly humorous with my husband - but by the end, I was ready for it to be over (and it's a short book).  It was really funny at the beginning but turned this dark, dark corner - not even really turned, but sort of wallowed around the corner in this bloated sort of way, that made for some almost unpleasant reading by the end.  It's a New York Book for sure - genetically related to Edith Wharton and Judy Blume and The Catcher in the Rye and Seinfeld (although not a book) and From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and every single musical ever written about New York City.  Like the city, the book, particularly half way through and beyond, was crowded and noisy; the paragraphs tended to run together.  A clown - yes, a clown - says at the beginning " This is New York, right?  We're all so close.  You have to breach boundaries and respect them at the same time."  Which is basically the plot in a nutshell - nice of Kramer to do that for us.  I make it sound like I hated this book,which I didn't - I would highly recommend it.


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