Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nothing by Janne Teller

From Goodreads:Nothing is the Lord of the Flies for the 21st century

Pierre Anthon left school the day he found out that it was not worth doing anything as nothing mattered anyhow. The rest of us stayed behind. And even though the teachers carefully cleared up after Pierre Anthon in the class room as well as in our heads, a bit of Pierre Anthon remained within us. Perhaps this is why things later happened the way they did ...

Thus begins the story of Pierre Anthon, a thirteen year old boy, who leaves school to sit in a plum tree and train for becoming part of nothing. "Everything begins just in order to end. The moment you were born you began to die, and that goes for everything else as well." Pierre Anthon shouts and continues: "The whole thing is just one immense play which is about pretending and about being best at exactly that."

Scared at the prospects that Pierre Anthon throws at them together with the ripening plums, his seventh grade classmates set out on a desperate quest for the meaning of life. Nothing they do will make him come down, not even pelting him with rocks. So to prove to Pierre Anthon that life has meaning, the children decide to give up things of importance. The pile starts with the superficial—a fishing rod, a new pair of shoes. But as the sacrifices become more extreme, the students grow increasingly desperate to get Pierre Anthon down, to justify their belief in meaning.

My review: This is a dark and sickening book. One star is lost because the characters aren't that great. Some of them were underdrawn, and some were so ridiculous you felt like you were looking at a charicature of an actual character. I mean, you can't tell me you didn't roll your eyes at the descriptions of either lady William or Holy Karl. *sighs*

The other star is lost on the story. I mean, it's a little stupid. Seventh grade intellectual realizes nothing is worth doing. So he does the obvious thing...climbs a plum tree. And then other kids take offense, until they decide to create a heap of meaning. So, of course, it progresses nicely...sandals...gerbil...prayer mat...dead baby...wait, what? Yeah. Stupid. Dark, but still really stupid.

It's like the car wreck you can't stop looking at. I flipped the pages like mad, but I must say that I was really waiting for it to be over for a lot of it.

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