Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Stacy’s Review of The Gospel According to Larry

gospel I first read this book right after it came out in 2001 (wow, that was 8 years ago!) and absolutely loved it.  I eagerly awaited the publication of the sequels and devoured them as well.  I chose the book for this month’s selection at the urging of some teens who love it, and I was so happy to find that on rereading, I enjoyed it just as much as the first time.  Of course the set-up of having the author pretend that the book they’re publishing is someone else’s manuscript given to them for safekeeping has been used before, but it does work for Tashjian, and is pretty much necessary for the way she wraps up the story.  The main character, Larry, is funny, and for me it’s totally believable that a dorky high-school kid would set up a web site where he could publish his own personal rants about society.  It’s also believable that people would stumble on the web site and take it to heart, particularly when the subject is anti-consumerism.  And poor Larry, all he really wants to do is move from friends with his best friend, Beth, to something else.  Some parts of the story are not so believable (would any teen, even a dork, sit at the make-up counter in a department store to talk to his dead mother?), but are entertaining enough to overlook the believability factor.  And really, an underground room that he dug himself?  Didn’t anyone ever tell him about the dangers of a cave-in? I love the photos of Larry’s possessions that he posts on his website to see if the clues can lead anyone to guess his identity.