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The Great American Whatever: 06/24/16

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle opens with Quinn being dragged to the hardware store by his best friend to purchase a new AC. Quinn and his mother are barely functioning after the death of his sister and the abandonment of his father.

Quinn spends a lot of the first act bemoaning his name. I can only guess that his parents were fans of the 1990s show, Sliders and I chose to imagine this Hollywood film obsessed teen looking like Quinn Mallory (Jerry O'Connell).

Quinn Mallory (Jerry O'Connell)

Anyway, Quinn begins to realize that he needs to come up with a plan for his life. He also meets a college student, Amir, who looks like a great summer fling. Quinn along with all his other worries, is also bummed that he's a sixteen year old virgin.

Given all the other things going on in his life, I find worrying about one's sex life the least probable. It's not that he can't or shouldn't fall in love, but his reasoning for pushing for it feels more like plot device than character development.

One thing that almost always bugs me in fiction is the inclusion of writing by the fictional characters. It very rarely reads like something different than how the author writes and it always serves as an interruption to the flow of the narrative.

Quinn's story is peppered with film script excerpts. In the context of the book, he uses these snippets as a coping method for when he's nervous, embarrassed, or depressed. We don't need to suffer through all his film script thinking to know this fact. I ended up either skimming or skipping these sections.

Three stars

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