Author: John Wray
Publisher: Picador (Macmillan)
Pub. Date: March 3, 2009 (hardcover); February 2, 2010 (paperback)
I so wanted to love this book. The premise sounded so intriguing. A 16-year-old teenager with Schizophrenia, Will Heller, rides the NYC subway all day long in an effort to save the world. By having sex. Which will cool off his body. So, yeah, that last part is strange, but the mental health aspect combined with the NYC aspect piqued my interests.
First, the goods. No one can accuse the author of not being a good writer. Because the writing was engaging and otherwise well done. I also thought his depiction of the Schizophrenic experience (for the person himself and for others looking in) was authentic. I haven't had too much experience working with people with Schizophrenia, but I've had some, and combined with the little else I know about it, it felt very true.
So, the bads. I really felt a lack of connection to the characters. It may have been the difficulty I had in understanding really what the significance was of the story except to convey the mental health issue. I felt as though I slogged through much of the book waiting for the big thing to happen. And then it never really did. And then there was apparently supposed to be a surprise of sorts at the end. The only problem was it was something I knew almost all along and actually thought I was supposed to until it played itself out as this big secret being revealed.
I will say that there may have been some more insights that I just failed to pick up on, but it lacked, for me, the psychological depth I thought I might find.