Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tampa; Alissa Nutting

Tampa; Alissa Nutting
Ecco - 2013

Beware -- this story will shock some readers, but it's really a page turner.

Celeste Price is a 26 year old beauty with a gorgeous husband, money and a hot little red Corvette.  She's also just landed her dream job teaching English to eight graders at a Tampa school. 

She's so excited about beginning this new job she can't sleep and her mind keeps racing. It's not the idea of molding the minds of her new students that excites her, instead she sees this job as the perfect opportunity to fulfill her fantasies -- by having sex with young boys.  

Celeste's first conquest Jack Patrick, age 14 who in her eyes is just about perfect -- a little shy and not the type to brag about his conquests with the pretty teacher.  He lives alone with his divorced father who occasionally work late and things get hot hot hot very quickly.  Of course her plans don't work out perfectly and complications do arise along the way.

Celeste is a piece of work. She's vain, judgmental, outrageous, a sexual predator and sociopath. She detests her handsome husband who she married for money and, who at 31 is too old to satisfy her fully.  Some of what this woman does will shock you and other things might make you feel guilty for laughing out loud.  

The story is told from Celeste's POV which is perfect as it makes you realize even more just how twisted she is.  For me though an evil, well-developed character like Celeste makes for a much more entertaining read than a likable, straight shooter.  Some of the things that happen in this story are ridiculous, but it is all part of the shock value delivered in this novel.

This book would make a great discussion book, but I doubt you'll find many library book groups selecting it since the main character is clearly a sexual predator.and the story is definitely cringe-worthy. 

The book is loosely based on the real life, Debra Lafave case in Florida. Readers who enjoy stories with deeply troubled characters and fiction that at times may be uncomfortable to read might want to give this one a try. It's not perfect, but I did enjoy it and read it in less than 4 hours as it was kind of hard to put down.

4/5 stars
(library)

(Cover comment - the hardcover I had from the library was the stark black cover, and although both seemed a bit boring, I am not sure what else would be appropriate after having read the book)  This book was brought to my attention by Jackie - Farm Lane Books.

23 comments:

  1. I read this book last year and I loved it too. I liked that the teacher was female and the student male as its usually the other way around.

    Amanda | www.gobookyourself.info

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    1. i agree you never used to hear of female predators.

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  2. I've heard about this one! I'm not sure I'd want to read it, but I do think it would make for a spirited (Shall we say?) book club discussion!

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    1. Definitely not for everyone, especially tough to read for parents with adolescent sons (or daughters).

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  3. I think it's interesting to get into the mind of characters like this.

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  4. I didn't really care for this one - I had trouble believing her husband would put up with her and I also had trouble believing she got away with all she did at school. Maybe I'm just naive.

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    1. Kathy, yes some of this was far out, but her classroom was not part of the main school, seemed like an annex of some type so that part was okay with me.

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  5. Hmmm....I think this one sounds a bit grim. And I actually like grim, but I will say that I like justice. Seems like that doesn't happen here or maybe I'm wrong.

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    1. Well, she doesn't come out smelling like a rose by any means:)

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  6. I am going to put this on my radar. I will probably have to order it, as I doubt the library or bookstore in my conservative part of the country will carry it. Thanks for the info.

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  7. Great review of this novel with such a complicated character. I can see how it would be hard to put down.

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    1. True Monica. I do like when I occasionally find a true-page turner.

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  8. I don't think this is a book for me. And as far as Debra Lafave...sometimes I'm embarrassed to say I'm from Florida. But I'm pretty sure it goes on everywhere.

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    1. Yes, not just a FL issue. WE had a similar case in NH years back with a female teacher and a 12 or 13 year old boy.

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  9. Well, real like can be shocking too!

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    1. yes, sometimes the news is some shocking it's hard to believe people can be so evil.

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  10. Afraid this one got a big thumbs-down from me. I certainly went in with an open mind because I agree with the premise that (some of) society has a double standard when it comes to male/ female sex offenders. And at first I thought the flat, cold writing style was clever. But then editorial things started to bother me – for example, the gymnastic sex scenes in the car! And I thought mid-way through the plot just took a turn for the ridiculous.
    In Australia we got the pink cover - memorable but lewd.

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    1. Yes, some was just plain crazy -- suspending belief to fiction. Her police officer husband clueless to all her time away and no interest in him....and more.

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  11. I'm glad that you decided to pick this one up. It is the sort of book I really want to talk about, but don't think I'd feel comfortable discussing it with my usual book group. I agree that it isn't perfect, but I loved the way it made bold questions about our attitudes to sexual predators. I still think about it - such a powerful story!

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    1. I know what you mean as there is plenty to discuss with this on, but I just can't imagine any library or church book clubs selecting it. Some of it was wacky but, to me it showed how messed up this woman really was and after all it was a fiction.

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  12. I downloaded this one months ago and then completely forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder - I'm stoked to read it again!

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