PJV Quickie: A Really Awesome Mess is one of those books that I really don’t know how to comprehend. It’s a coming-of-age young adult novel, or more likely an acceptance-of-self type story but based in a new age type “mental camp” for teens. In some respects the story was ridiculously scary for a parent, in other is was just sad and pitiful. Overall it invoked a lot of emotional reaction, so intrinsically it did it’s job as a novel.
Review: The reason why this story didn’t blow me away in terms of like-ability was because of the fact that I didn’t like any of the characters. I’m a straight-forward type of girl, I like my problems categorized and helpful. These teens in this novel were messy, nasty at times and their perception of self was way off the radar. Considering that you were in two of these teens head for the entirety of the book, this led to me feeling uncomfortable with the characters most of the time. They made dumb decisions, the reacted poorly to situations, they had unhealthy habits…but it was SUPPOSED to be this way. These were sick kids, with screwed up problems. They we so sick that their parents sent them away to get “fixed” in some odd camp.
So, I got it. I got the point of the story, I got the message, I thought it was great that the problems were surreptitiously resolved in the end. Even though I found it a bit trite. Go away to a camp and have your mental problems “fixed” all the while finding love between the group discussions about rage and abhorrent sexual predilections. But, I found these odd little characters were multi-faceted and a bit dark to my liking. Emmy was overly enjoyable and I got her ridiculous rage even though I pitied her through most of the book.
It’s hard being a teen and I’m sure it’s a million times harder being a teen with a mental problem. This book quantified this basis of instability and wrapped it up in a mentally unstable package, in user friendly terms and digestibility. It wasn’t something that changed my life and broadened my scope of empathetic capacity to mentally unstable teens, but it did pass a few hours in an odd state of entertainment. That train wreck that you got some sick pleasure from watching on a news channel but don’t want to admit to yourself. Give this A REALLY AWESOME MESS a try…you might have a different opinion.
Recommendations: There are a lot of issues with this book, eating disorders a lot of talk about sex, but there are consequences to the actions these kids take. Huge consequences. I think this book is suitable for teen consumption, but as always the discerning and more mature teen. There is nothing I can really compare this book too, because I haven’t read anything like it.
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