Ficção, LaPoma, Review

The Summer of Crud by Jonathan LaPoma

Plot summary: 
The summer after graduating from college, 22-year-old Danny Wolinski takes a cross-country US road trip with his friend, Ian Perez, hoping to find the inspiration to reach his songwriting potential, start a band, and avoid student teaching in the fall.
Danny is tormented by intense physical and psychological pain and sees music as his only relief, but the more he searches for this inspiration in an America filled with endless parties, heavy drugs, and lost souls, the more he questions whether it exists. 
A deeply disturbing and psychological coming-of-age novel, THE SUMMER OF CRUD explores the complexities of friendships, masculinity, sex, mental illness, and addiction, and shows how the quest to unlock one’s creativity can both inspire and destroy a person.

This story is about a young man that finished college and he’s questioning his life while on a road trip with his friend. It was a short and weird reading but a enjoyable experience. 
This book has references about mental illness, substance abuse, prostitution and the complexities of friendships.

Danny is the main character of the story and lives this adventure with his strange friend called Ian. I liked the honesty of Danny and the struggle he endures. He was constantly thinking that he was never enough. The descriptions of this events were done in an amazing way because Danny never explained to us (the reader) why he had those feelings. He speaks about the subject like that was an integrated part of himself, part of his personality.
To be honest, I hated Ian, to me he was not a friend of Danny, but the enemy. He was always treating Danny like a piece of garbage. 

I loved the music references, it was a good trip to the world of music, and the songs were played automatically in my head. And the references to places made the reading much more authentic.

But at the end, I was expecting more, I wanted to know more about the life that was waiting for Danny. The end of the book seems unfinished, which may not be a bad thing because the story left me craving for more.

The writing was very accessible and was a fast paced reading.
Thank you so much for this opportunity, Jonathan!

Ficção, LaPoma, Review

Understanding the Alacrán by Jonathan LaPoma

Plot summary:
Trying to escape the oppression leading him to drinking, drugs, and despair, 22-year-old William James rejects a teaching position offer at a prestigious Buffalo high school and moves to Mexico to find freedom in its beaches, mountains, and culture.
But soon, this freedom becomes oppressive as well as William finds himself unable to avoid the pull of the wild party scene in the small town of Lila where he lives. He continues a downward spiral until he meets a complex and compassionate Mexican woman whose love inspires him to face the question he’s been avoiding: Is this trip a desperate search for life or a slow death?

Will, the lead character, rejected a good job to escape from himself and the problems that surround him. He moves to Mexico, but at some point, he notice that nothing is changing. For me, this is the most important message from this book, he realizes the solution was not to run away from his problems because the problems go with you wherever you decide to go.

This history is pretty crazy with all the partying, but I liked Will and I understand that he was just trying to find his place in the world. But as I expected, he falls into a bad life (drinking, girls, and drugs).

One of the things I liked about this book was the descriptions of the places, it really puts you there. The author illustrates and captures the essence of Mexico, we can experience and have a mental image of everything. 

To be sincere, it took me a while to finish this book. Initially, I was thinking that I was in a kind of book slump, but it turns to be something else. This history is so slow paced, in every chapter I was expecting something more, but always continues on the same level. In my mind, at some point, something big was going to happen.

However, I really enjoy the type of writing, it seemed that the author speaks directly to us. So, I rated 3 stars.

This is the second book I have read by Jonathan LaPoma and I will continue to follow his work.
My sincere thanks to the author for sending me the book.

You can find this book here:
Book Depository

Drama, Ficção, LaPoma

Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story of Jonathan LaPoma

I started reading this book with some high expectations and I must say that those expectations were met.

Plot summary:
Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story follows a group of recent college graduates who struggle with feelings of alienation and their addictions as they try to survive a year of teaching at two dysfunctional Miami public schools.
A poetic and insightful coming-of-age novel, Developing Minds is centered on 24-year-old Luke Entelechy, an aspiring writer who sees his creative output suffer when he begins teaching at one of Miami’s most challenging middle schools. As the year progresses, however, Luke begins to relate to the neglect and abuse his students suffer, and is faced with a “haunting” decision: continue to let his dark past destroy him, or rise above the struggle to realize his potential as an artist and a “real” human being.
Equal parts disturbing and humorous, Developing Minds offers a brutally honest look at the American public school system and the extreme measures many teachers take to cope with working in it.

The book is about a professor named Luke, who is struggling to be successful in the school he’s teaching. He’s got a job in an F school – a problematic school – where he found the most unexpected students that try to be tough on the outside — not because they want, but because they are also struggling at home and trying to fit in the society.