(4 / 5)
In Alissa Nutting’s novel Tampa, Celeste Price, a smoldering 26-year-old middle-school teacher in Florida, unrepentantly recounts her elaborate and sociopathically determined seduction of a 14-year-old student.
Celeste has chosen and lured the charmingly modest Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his eighth-grade teacher, and, most importantly, willing to accept Celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after dark, rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works the late shift, and body-slamming erotic encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress of pure motivation. She deceives everyone, is close to no one, and cares little for anything but her pleasure.
OK. Okay. OKAY. First of all, I need to wash my brain. Like take it out of my head, rinse it in a bleach bath for 15-20 minutes, and then maybe I wouldn’t feel so filthy all over after reading this book. Have no illusions dear reader, this was one of the most jacked up books I’ve ever read.
Celeste Price is a trophy wife, a middle school teacher, and a child predator. No beating around the bush necessary, this book is the profile of someone who prey’s on children. When we first meet her, it is the summer before her very first teaching job, where she will be teaching English to eighth graders. She is obsessed with herself and thinks only about her beauty and getting off.
The narrative is from the first person, and I think that is what makes me want to wash my brain so badly. Because you are inside this womans head for the entirety of the book, and it isn’t a pleasant place. At least for those who think about things other than having sex with 14 year old boys. Once she has her sights set on a boy, there is nothing that can be done to derail her. Since she is a predator, she knows just the kind of kid to look for It’s both remarkable and horrifying to think that there are people out there that can read others and select the right person out of a crowd, just by their body language or the answer to an unrelated question.
I gave this book 4 stars not because I liked the subject matter. No, molesting children isn’t my idea of a hayride. I gave it 4 stars because of the authors attention to detail and her ability to get inside a pedophiles head so completely that you have to remind yourself it’s just a book and not really a conscious stream from an actual person. I kept thinking “this is what I need to watch for when I am looking out for children in the future.” The plausibility of the story, the horror in my own mind of something happening to my own children, and the general horribleness that was Celeste Price was enough to keep me turning the pages until I was finished.
Asking myself WTF did I just read? In a good way, but still, WTF.
Check it out on Amazon >> http://goo.gl/pR2DWo
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