Monday, April 19, 2010

Under the Covers: How I Paid for College

TITLE: How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship &Musical Theater
AUTHOR: Marc Acito
GENRE: Fiction

SUMMARY:   A deliciously funny romp of a novel about one overly theatrical and sexually confused New Jersey teenager’s larcenous quest for his acting school tuition.

It’s 1983 in Wallingford, New Jersey, a sleepy bedroom community outside of Manhattan. Seventeen-year-old Edward Zanni, a feckless Ferris Bueller–type, is Peter Panning his way through a carefree summer of magic and mischief. The fun comes to a halt, however, when Edward’s father remarries and refuses to pay for Edward to study acting at Julliard.

Edward’s truly in a bind. He’s ineligible for scholarships because his father earns too much. He’s unable to contact his mother because she’s somewhere in Peru trying to commune with Incan spirits. And, as a sure sign he’s destined for a life in the arts, Edward’s incapable of holding down a job. So he turns to his loyal (but immoral) misfit friends to help him steal the tuition money from his father, all the while practicing for his high school performance of Grease. Disguising themselves as nuns and priests, they merrily scheme their way through embezzlement, money laundering, identity theft, forgery, and blackmail. But, along the way, Edward also learns the value of friendship, hard work, and how you’re not really a man until you can beat up your father—metaphorically, that is.

ROSE'S REVIEW: This book is a hilarious coming of age story set in New Jersey in the 1980's. So for a child of the 80s there is a lot of pop culture references that are quirky and funny and work in the book. The characters in the story are really vibrant and colorful. The problem with that is sometimes they come off as caricatures. I mean you have the token gay guy, the meathead jock, the overweight actress, the nerdy Jewish guy, the pretty girl etc etc. Acito does break these characters out of their respective molds throughout parts of the book, so it doesn't ruin the story. But you also have to suspend disbelief for parts of the plot line. If you can do that, you will love the book. If you can't, you won't finish it. It's outlandish and unbelievable at times. The only other major gripe i have with the book is there is a lot of sex, of every variety- straight, gay men, gay woman, orgies. I didn't expect it to be like that, but once i got used to it- I wasn't bothered by it. But if you can't handle reading those types of things, I would avoid the book. That being said, How I Paid for College is a fantastic story that is really well-written and enjoyable. I highly recommend it.



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