Thursday, March 12, 2015

Brutal Youth-Anthony Breznican

Brutal Youth-Anthony Breznican
the facts
satisfaction: up
pages: 416
gender: M
nationality: USA
year: 2014
St. Michael's is a school on the down plunge. Budget problems means that delinquents, bullies, and religious are in charge, both within the student body and among staff. Peter Davidek visits on a day when a taunted upper-classman is driven to desperation. The people he connects to on this day prove to be his saving grace as they struggle to survive their freshman year.

Did you want a realistic novel about a parochial high school? Look elsewhere. That is not to say that there aren't elements of realism in Breznican's school (oh, there are) but rather that this is a study in extremes. I loved it. There is such a subtle, dark wit to Breznican's observations and writing that really charmed me to my bones. His prose would periodically part to showcase some brilliantly simple but beautiful lines. The intensity is never decreased (though thankfully, it never increases) and the book is brilliantly structured to show that evil arises during situations that call for it. The characters are so well drawn, you have sympathy, you have horror, and no one is good or bad but rather everyone is good and bad. I think you, as the reader, end up with almost every emotion that it is possible to have about fictional people and situations and yet at the end, I thanked Breznican for it. This is not an easy book and it is a little long but I thought it was totally worth it. I have a lot of feelings.

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