Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Paradox of Vertical Flght by Emil Ostrovski

"What happens when you put a suicidal eighteen-year-old philosophy student, his ex-girlfriend, his best friend, and his newborn baby in a truck and send them to Grandma's house? This debut novel by Emil Ostrovski will appeal to fans of John Green, Chris Crutcher, and Jay Asher.

On the morning of his eighteenth birthday, philosophy student and high school senior Jack Polovsky is somewhat seriously thinking of suicide when his cell phone rings. Jack's ex-girlfriend, Jess, has given birth, and Jack is the father. Jack hasn't spoken with Jess in about nine months—and she wants him to see the baby before he is adopted. The new teenage father kidnaps the baby, names him Socrates, stocks up on baby supplies at Wal-Mart, and hits the road with his best friend, Tommy, and the ex-girlfriend. As they head to Grandma's house (eluding the police at every turn), Jack tells baby Socrates about Homer, Troy, Aristotle, the real Socrates, and the Greek myths—because all stories spring from those stories, really. Even this one. Funny, heart-wrenching, and wholly original, this debut novel by Emil Ostrovski explores the nature of family, love, friendship, fate, fatherhood, and myth."

So, this was an advance copy that I read recently. I think this is a book that definitely can't be pigeonholed, but in spite of that (or because of it) I really liked it. A lot. And it's really hard to say why. Undoubtedly, this book is kind of screwed up at times. That's kind of what added to its charm, though, for me. It's shockingly, weirdly, different from anything else out there (yet the John Green/Chris Crutcher references were closest, which might explain why I liked it). The book manages, in its messed-up situations, to bring intense hilarity and almost surrealism, and it gets grounded by irrational sweetness from Jack and his motivations and musings. It's strangely charismatic, and I really recommend you read this when you get the chance. It came out in September, so maybe keep an eye out for it in the library sometime soon-ish!

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