Review: Youth and Other Fictions by Jonathan Cook

    Youth and Other Fictions
Jonathan Cook; Kindle Edition
Published September 23rd 2011
Jonathan Cook’s debut novel looks at the horrors of a school shooting and its psychological effects on those involved. Told from two perspectives–one a student’s and one a teacher’s–the story reveals the inner concerns leading up to the moment when the world falls apart and the anxieties of coping with the broken pieces afterwards.

Wow…you know, I sometimes wonder why it is that we’re so often fascinated with killers, and twisted minds, and despicable acts. We are, think about it; we watch the news knowing there’ll be crime in there, we watch the TV shows and documentaries about them, read the crime books. There’s something about the lost sheep that we just can’t resist, isn’t there? Maybe it’s proof of our self-destructive wiring. Anyways…

Reading this novel was a strange experience. I was oddly fascinated and yet constantly repulsed, experiencing random bursts of my misanthropist self. I was also overcome with a deep sens of helplessness and sadness. I’m not sure if this was the goal, but at times I just had to gape and say “You have got to be kidding me!!”. If you’re in a bad mood, this is not the read for you at that moment, that’s what I think.

As far as the plot goes, it’s dramatic and slightly horrifying and a tad disturbing; I say a tad because it’s fiction. Great writing, clear, direct, mature voice, and delightfully screwed-up characters, that’s what I thought of this novel. In a way, it has a lot in common with the TV show Midsummer Murders, it all happens in this small town, that has residents dying quicker then new ones are getting born, or at least that’s the feeling I get. There’s all this death, and loneliness and pain floating around in the pages…and yet reading the novel wasn’t depressing, but in a strange way it wasn’t quite touching either. Perhaps because I got into it already guarded, and treated it as an exercise of fiction instead of throwing myself into it emotionally, I had this feeling of detachment from the characters and their lives, but not complete detachment either. It was a very odd read for me, I’m sort of dazed after it, shocked and stunned I guess.
Did I like it? I’d feel bad to say I liked reading about all these people dying…so I’ll say it was a very interesting read. I believe I would have loved it more if it hadn’t given me this staccato feeling overall, what with changing POV’s and such.

If you like experimenting with your reads, you should definitely give this a try; I’m sure it would be a different experience to you, to me, school shootings being things I see documentaries on TV from far away places, it was something of an odd experience.
It’s a well written novel, with interesting perspective and very intriguing plot and characters, you should definitely give it a try.

Tune in tomorrow to read a lovely guest post by the author, as a part of the virtual book tour; trust me, you’ll love it to bits, I know I do 😀 And if you’d like a chance to win this ebook, among other 48 titles, be sure to check in for the Book Lover’s Holiday Giveaway Hop starting tomorrow, December 2!
Read more about the virtual book tour over at the author’s website.

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1 thought on “Review: Youth and Other Fictions by Jonathan Cook

  1. Pingback: Jonathan M. Cook, Author of Youth and Other Fictions: On Tour | Premier Virtual Author Book Tours

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