Monday, April 25, 2011

Title: Lowboy
Author: John Wray
Pages: 258
Genre: Fiction
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.


Thoughts of Joy said...

I felt the same way! If you're interested, here are my thoughts.

christina said...

I picked this up at one of Borders' sales. I don't know when I'll read it, but I'm looking forward to it. Too bad it didn't work for you.

Jenna (Literature and a Lens) said...

I reviewed this one a few months ago and didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped I would either. The lack of a moving plot made it really hard to get through. I guess I was just hoping for a more poignant look at a day in the life of someone who suffers from a mental illness.

Zibilee said...

The fact that this deals with Schizophrenia very much interests me, but after reading your review, and the comments attached to it, I am starting to think that this one may not live up to it's potential. I do really like to read literature that explores mental illnesses, but it sounds as if this one is not really all that noteworthy. Thanks for being so honest in your review, I really appreciate it.

nomadreader said...

I've heard good things about this novel but never anything great enough to compel me to actually pick it up. I'm fascinated by schizophrenia, so I'm disappointed to hear this one didn't quite work!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Sounds weird but fascinating. Sorry it didn't do it for you.

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ash said...

Oh no! I loved the cover of this book and wanted it to be great but from the comments it looks like the consensus is not good. Thanks for the honest review.

Meg said...

Bummer! I've had this one in my bookcase for more than a year and was looking forward to (eventually) starting it... but I'm thinking now I shouldn't waste my time.

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