Wednesday, February 9, 2011

You Comma Idiot by Doug Harris

In his first novel, Doug Harris casts you as a 28-year old hash dealer from Montreal named Lee Goodstone. This second-person perspective made me nostalgic for the Choose Your Own Adventure series of my youth and although it was initially awkward I warmed up to it by the third chapter. Unlike those young adult masterworks, you do not get to make any decisions here. Do you want to sell drugs? Sleep with your best friend's girlfriend? Alienate people with your sarcastic, self-deprecating sense of humor? Well, Lee Goodstone does and by extension, so do you.

What does it say about me that I actually enjoyed being Lee Goodstone?

Don't answer that.

The problem or perhaps the point of this novel is that by the end you start to discover just how unsavory this character is. It's a nifty little psychological sleight-of hand. You like Lee/yourself at first. He's a lot like you. Doesn't quite fit in, not the best looking guy in the room, a little too smart for his own good. As you dig deeper into Lee's/your psyche you don't always like what you find there. It leaves you wondering, at the end, if you didn't just waste a lot of time being somebody you don't really like. What is the point of that?

Then I took a moment to reflect on my own misspent youth.

Oh. I get it now.

1 comment:

  1. I remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books! Loved 'em, except I remember wondering why I always had to be a boy.

    This one sounds like an intriguing read, I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for a copy.