Author: Adam Selzer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: Recipe for awesomesauce, Realistic Fiction
Love is getting a lecture from someone who could fart right on your bare arm at any second.
things you need to know about play me backwards:
1. anna is not a main feature in this story.
2. there is satanism. hell, this book could be name ‘a fun-&-frolic guide to satanism.’
3. leon is the poop guy.
4. you keep expecting it to blow up yet it doesn’t and then you are unsure IF you want it to blow but how could you not?
a muddle if there ever was one.
so the story starts with satan arriving an hour late for work on valentine’s day.
if that ain’t the best pick-up line you’ve ever heard, you’re out of my league and in the inter-galactic pee wee football for shrunk geezers with various assorted appendages.
leon used to be the guy who hassled his school to divulge the extra money they made off of him- and the gifted pool, the class of intelligent kids,- the kid who kissed the girl of his dreams and could have gone for the ivy league. now he works- if you can call it that- in the ice cave, with an years old whale in the cooler serving three customers a day and not even sure he’s going to graduate. he is literally the minion of satan- who happens to be his best friend and manager.
but less of this
and more of this, because satan/stan is pretty fucking awesome
that’s a pretty big fall and don’t think there was the facility of a slide. nope, siree, mamsies and lilypads, it was heartbreak. and gone, anna, gone.
anna, who basically made him the best shit ever.
anna, who was basically the nest shit ever herself.
(of course, being the girl of a boy’s dreams is never that easy and boy, did she have to spend hours practicing to be classy and move around while shorts beneath a long/dress shirt so it looked like she wasn’t actually wearing shorts. but you know, (or so jenny says) she was still awesome.)
anna, upon whose leaving, he regressed to slacker ways.
anna, who might or might not be coming back.
anna, who isn’t that big a part of the story.
instead let’s not talk about paige, who is.
play me backwards has turned out to be one of the funniest, honest stories i’ve read this side of summer. besides slacker, weirdo, teenage shenanigans that i dig like i’m mary fucking leakey on an expedition, leon’s voice was relatable, and his story/position at times tough to swallow for that precise reason. yet his humor and lack of self pity, the situations he creates or gets stuck in, and the distinct lack of forced preaching, life lessons and ultra sweetness that make one haven’t showered-on-a-(indian)summer-day-icky, which i know firsthand because *ahem* this book and reasons and procrastination and a verrrry engrossing read beget unintentional acts of water conservation.
oh but look there! it’s a bird! it’s a plane ! it’s words of wisdom!
While we went through suit after suit, each of which looked alike to me, I developed a theory that we think of shopping as a women’s activity because it’s got to be more fun to shop for women’s clothes than men’s.
beyond all that’s said, what really deserves a mention and extra rating is the challenge, not outright but in subtle ways, of all that is expected of boys. of all that is not expected of boys. because there are guys who send girls pictures of their scrotum to reel them in. because leon has performance anxiety when it comes to sex. and because there are wayward non-existential lessons for those who seek: like i now understand that the way of moby dick will never be a happy life of me. i’m never picking up that book. (i sure hope college doesn’t make me eat my words.)
Just because something is classier than something else doesn’t make it automatically better.
unless we’re talking audrey hepburn. or marilyn hepburn. or courtney summers. or- you get the gist.
and if that’s not enough dudes, remember how rejuvenating a feeling it is to read the last words whilst clapping and cheering for the main character NOT because it’s a fairy tale, gold glitter ending but kind of a realistic, well-journeyed conclusion and that kicks ass.
but a perfect book it is not. there are characters whose portrayal i wish hadn’t been so off-hand, and there are lulls in the book when it gets slow. moreover, as much i condone the decision to keep s(a)tan mysterious and all, most of leon and his conversations were nothing but the former having troubles and the latter giving him some inane job that, in a convoluted fashion, helps leon out. most of their talks were leon, leon, leon. when they’re not playing/messing with others, that is. how this makes a lasting friendship, i don’t know. but there have been cases before, so who am i to talk?
LOVE LOVE LOVE(to Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers!)
now, about that shower…