Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review: TRICERATOPS by Marcus Gorman

My thoughts: Why was this book called “Triceratops”? There were no dinosaurs in it. I almost wished there were. But right off the bat, the girl describes sexual discrepancies between the other guys and this Xavier, her roommate artist/boyfriend. Admittedly, I was a tad grossed out by it. Still, it was the savage dialogue—raw and untamed against the bleakness of domestication—that provoked me to read on.

Gorman writes with such laid-back magnetism dripping with a dark and comedic punch that is often reminiscent of Salinger’s poignant tale, The Catcher in the Rye. Gripping and funny!

Mainly told from the views of both Henry and Charlotte, this book takes you through the gritty alleys deep in the heart of New York City. Their pitfalls were often summarized with mindless jabber, which, at times, left me dazed. Sometimes I thought they were just idiots. Who keeps a canvas with splattered brains?

What I liked most about the two main characters was their utter knack for the cold truth. For instance, in the moment when Charlotte spots Henry for the very first time, she states it plainly and simply: “This isn’t a heavenly sign that we should walk down the aisle, exchange vows, hold hands, and wander into the sunset. Because this is real life. This is real life fucking with me. It’s laughing in my face.” (pg. 50)

The author’s expertise in music, film, and television was evident with the many references interspersed throughout, and I enjoyed how they mingled within the story.

My only aversion was that every chapter was written in the first person POV of a character, usually someone other than Charlotte or Henry. It was sometimes hard to tell which character was speaking.  And why were we even getting the points of view from other people? I thought this story was supposed to be centered on Henry and Charlotte. Instead I learned of an eccentric clan of characters, which I guess are common around New York.  I would include that I couldn’t truly empathize with any of them.

At first, you really think this story is about a bunch of idiots getting high or drunk, but then you find a deeper meaning beneath that wretched layer of barren mediocrity. For these young people, life is about getting through the bad and learning to appreciate the small good, whether it be a night at a museum or a tour through (the real) TV land. Gorman particularly said it best: “There are worse ways to live…It’s better than having a life revolving around a terrible job, a life revolving around a bad family life, a life revolving around deep, upsetting loss.” (pg. 141)

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