Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Elliot Allagash

This book has a fascinating premise. Seymour is low on the totem pole in his school, and he kind of likes it that way, except for the part where he gets picked on occasionally and has to go to detention with his tormentors. But even that isn't too bad because detention isn't crowded and he can mostly keep to himself. That's what Seymour likes, being left alone.

Then Elliot Allagash pushes him down the stairs, beginning an odd relationship that turns into a twisted friendship. Elliot Allagash is rich, despicable, and bored, and Seymour becomes a project: take the lowest on the totem pole and raise him to the top. But Elliot's ways are as despicable as he is, and though sometimes he can seem like a friend, you'd better always do what he says. Seymour rises to the top his freshman year and continues his friendship with Elliot throughout high school, but there's a price to pay. When will it be too high?

Simon Rich also wrote the humor collection Ant Farm as well as some other pieces, and he writes for Saturday Night Live. His humor is definitely quirky. Most interesting, though, is his youth. He was born in 1984 (younger than I am!), and if you see his picture on the inside cover of the book, you'll think he's younger than that!

Elliot Allagash is certainly entertaining, but it's not really a happy book, for all its humor. It's morally disturbing (not sexually, but ethically) and has a lot of cursing, particularly using God's name in vain. In the end, I was not satisfied, although the outcome wasn't horrible. I don't think it was much worth my time.

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