2007 - Farrar, Straus and Giroux
(audio - Listening Library - Lincoln Hoppe, reader)
In Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You, the "pained" individual is eighteen year old James Sveck. His parents are in their own little worlds, divorced from each other. His mother recently ran off to Las Vegas to marry husband number 3, and has just as quickly left him after less than a week of marriage. James also has an older sister Gillian, who is self-involved. His saving grace seems to be a sweet grandmother who really cares about him. Their time together is special for both of them, and he looks forward to their discussions about life.
James is smart, very smart, but is somewhat of a misfit or at least socially-awkward. He's never been on a date, and although he has just been accepted at Brown University, he's not sure he wants to go to college. He can't relate to others his age and would prefer to get out of NY and spend the college money to buy an old house somewhere in the Midwest. Maybe the move would get him out of therapy as well. Dr. Adler, his therapist is driving him crazy. An incident on a school field trip to Washington, D.C. is what gets him sent to a therapist. There is also an incident with an individual who manages the small, NY art gallery, that his mother owns as well.
I fell in love with James as he navigates life. I loved that he was both cynical and sympathetic, a young man who feels everything much more deeply than most people. Is James that off beat? I mean really, is it so bad to be anti-social and prefer your own company to that of self involved people --- people that you have nothing in common with anyways?
Told from the first person POV, the reader learns a lot about the sensitive, deep thinking James when he visits his grandmother and talks to her about life. In this story, I had no expectations as to how it would end for James, and instead, I just enjoyed the ride along the way. The author did an amazing job of getting inside of James' head. The story made me laugh and tear up as well. It's an amazing story about growing up when you beat to a different drummer.
Can any of you relate to some of these quotes from the novel?
--“I felt this awful obligation to be charming or at least have something to say, and the pressure of having to be charming (or merely verbal) incapacitates me.”
--“I found the idea of being a librarian very appealing--working in a place where people had to whisper and only speak when necessary. If only the world were like that!”---“I’m not a sociopath or a freak (although I don’t suppose people who are sociopaths or freaks self-identify as such); I just don’t enjoy being with people. People, at least in my experience, rarely say anything interesting to each other. They always talk about their lives and they don’t have very interesting lives. So I get impatient. For some reason I think you should only say something if it’s interesting or absolutely has to be said.”
The audio version of this book is read by Lincoln Hoppe who did an excellent job. This is definitely a novel that is going to make my Top 5 list for 2013. It moved me deeply - Read It!