Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Submarine by Joe Dunthorne

The dryly precocious, soon-to-be-fifteen-year-old hero of this engagingly offbeat debut novel, Oliver Tate lives in the seaside town of Swansea, Wales. At once a self-styled social scientist, a spy in the baffling adult world surrounding him, and a budding, hormone-driven emotional explorer, Oliver is stealthily (and perhaps a bit more nervously than he’d ever admit) nosing his way forward through the murky and uniquely perilous waters of adolescence. His objectives? Uncovering the secrets behind his parents’ teetering marriage, unraveling the mystery that is his alluring and equally quirky classmate Jordana Bevan, and understanding where he fits in among the pansexuals, Zoroastrians, and other mystifying, fascinating beings in his orbit.

“It’s in my interests to know about my parents’ mental problems,” he reasons. Thus, when he discovers that his affable dad is quietly struggling with depression, Oliver marshals all the daytime-TV pop-psychology wisdom at his command–not to mention his formidable, uninhibited powers of imagination–in order to put things right again. But a covert expedition into the mysterious territory of middle-aged malaise is bound to be tricky business for a teenager with more to learn about the agonies and ecstasies of life than a pocket thesaurus and his “worldly” school chum Chips can teach him.

Ready or not, however, Oliver is about to get a crash course. His awkwardly torrid and tender relationship with Jordana is hurtling at the speed of teenage passion toward the inevitable magic moment . . . and whatever lies beyond. And his boy-detective exploits have set him on a collision course with the New Age old flame who’s resurfaced in his mother’s life to lead her into temptation with lessons in surfing, self-defense . . . and maybe seduction. Struggling to buoy his parents’ wedded bliss, deep-six his own virginity, and sound the depths of heartache, happiness, and the business of being human, what’s a lad to do? Poised precariously on the cusp of innocence and experience, yesterday’s daydreams and tomorrow’s decisions, Oliver Tate aims to damn the torpedoes and take the plunge.
(Summary taken from goodreads)

Let me first point out that this book has absolutely nothing to do with submarines. That being said, I still loved it. I honestly can’t put my finger on what exactly it was that I enjoyed about the novel, but it was certainly a refreshing read.  See, here’s the thing. It’s a movie too, a British film actually, and the only reason I had heard of this book was because I saw the trailer for the movie. The trailer didn’t impress me all that much, but then I found the book and decided why not give it a chance? I’m so glad I did because I ended up devouring it within two days.
            Oliver is definitely one of the reasons I enjoyed it. He was an extremely original character with all of these little quirks and habits.  He also had an insanely large vocabulary, but what I appreciated was the fact that after throwing these huge words at the reader, the definition was provided. It makes life easier for lazy people like me. I thought Jordana, Oliver’s friend and girlfriend, was a really interesting character as well. She sort of challenged Oliver and questioned his ways. Their relationship was certainly a unique one, but it was definitely fun to read about.
            The plot was a bit strange for me. I felt like it picked up from page one, then was really dry in the middle, but finished off strong. The beginning had me hooked from the start and was probably my favorite part of the entire book. Then the middle arrived and it just seemed to drag on. I felt like the conflict had already been solved and now the author was just sort of filling the space until another conflict arose, if that makes any sense. However, the dry middle was worth the strong ending. It wasn’t spectacular, but I felt that it wrapped up the book nicely.
            Overall, I would recommend this book if you’re looking for an out of the ordinary sort of read. It’s definitely quite unusual. Still, it captures teenage emotions in a rather relatable way. I really don’t know how to describe this book, because it is not like any other book that I have read. Still, I recommend checking out. So, if you read it, or have read it, or have even seen the movie be sure to let me know your opinion of it! As usual, when there’s usually a movie, I attach the trailer. So, the trailer is down below.


Wow, I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since I last posted. Jeez! I’m really sorry about that. I probably should have given everyone a heads up instead of just dropping off of the face of the earth, but I’ve been ridiculously busy lately. I know, I know, it’s the same old excuse, but I really have been busy. These past few months have just been so hectic and I kept telling myself, “Okay Shaylene, you’re going to post today” and then I never would. So, I’m finally sitting down and posting. Let’s see, what’s new. Wow…I’m really drawing a blank here. That’s sad. I’ve still been reading, though not nearly as much as I would like to. Still, I have some great books to review in the near future, so be sure to be on the lookout for those. I guess that’s really all that I have to say. Oh, by the way, anybody read anything good lately? It’s finally summer and I’m looking for some good reads. If you have any suggestions let me know :)