Monday, June 6, 2011

My Life, The Theater, and Other Tragedies by Allen Zadoff

imageHigh school sophomore Adam Zeigler, who lost his father to a sudden accident two years ago, thinks the best way to live life is behind the spotlight. As a member of the theater crew, he believes he's achieved it all when he wins the coveted job of spotlight operator. But that was before a young actress, Summer, appeared in his view. Instantly smitten, Adam is determined to win her over. But to do so, he'll have to defy his best friend and break the golden rule of his school: techies and actors don't mix.

Set against the backdrop of a high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Zadoff's latest is a bromance, a love story, and theater story in one. The politics of love and high school collide as Adam struggles to find the courage to step out of the shadows and into the light.

This novel was adorable, hilarious, and addicting. This is the first novel I’ve read by Allen Zadoff, though I’ve heard marvelous things about his first YA book Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have. I was both nervous and excited to start this novel. I was nervous because it seemed a little dorky and generally not my kind of thing. I was excited to read it because while the plot seems dorky, it also has potential to be written really well. Suffice to say, I shouldn’t have been nervous because Allen Zadoff did an amazing job with this story.

The main character, Adam was layered! And I don’t been layered like clothes. Not only is he a painfully shy member of the theater crew, but he is also this nice, caring, great guy. Summer was written really well, also. Though there was awhile where I thought that she was going to be portrayed as a manic-pixie-dream-girl-type**. She slowly moved past that towards the end, which redeemed her character for me.

I like that this book has to do with theater because I love theater. I don’t love acting and I don’t love working on stage sets, but I like seeing theater and talking about theater- so the fact that most of the novel takes place in a theater, was really alluring to me. There are a lot of ways to make or break books where theater is a strong influence. You can over do the theater and make the novel to happy and too Glee-esque. Don’t get me wrong, I love Glee, but I don’t think it can be translated into a novel well. Allen Zadoff didn’t over do the theater, though. He balanced it with Adam’s familial, personal, and stage guy problems.

My Life, The Theater, and Other Tragedies was an addicting and heartfelt novel that I couldn’t put down. I highly recommend reading it!

FTC- Publisher.

** (For those who don’t know, a manic-pixie-dream-girl is a term that is used to describe (definition taken off of wikipedia)- MPDGs are usually static characters who have eccentric personality quirks and are unabashedly girlish. They invariably serve as the romantic interest for a (often brooding or depressed) leading male protagonist.

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