Monday, June 20, 2016

Unproductive Ted

On a recent long plane trip I read Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick. 

Every Exquisite Thing is the story of Nanette O'Hare, an average high school senior who has always done the right thing and followed the path chosen for her by her parents – that is until she is given a copy of The Bubblegum Reaper ... and it changes her life.

“And then one day you will look for you in the mirror and you’ll no longer be able to identify yourself—you’ll only see everyone else. You’ll know that you did what they wanted you to do. You will have assimilated. And you will hate yourself for it, because it will be too late.” 

After reading (and re-reading and re-reading) The Bubblegum Reaper, Nanette is full of questions about the book, and life in general, which leads her to seek out the paperback's writer. 

"Just because you're good at something doesn't mean you have to do it."

This book is for every high schooler...

“Then we talked a lot about our parents and how we didn't want to become them, but we had no other role models--or "maps," Alex kept saying. 'My father is a terrible map, mostly because he doesn't ever lead me anywhere.' And I thought about my parents being maps that led to places I didn't want to go-- and it made a shocking amount of sense, using the word maps to describe parents. It almost made you feel like you could fold Mom and Dad up and lock them away in the glove compartment of your car and just joyride for the rest of your life maybe.”

For every high school senior who needs to make big decisions...

“Sometimes you just have to pick a direction and make mistakes. Then you use what you learn from your failure to pick new, better directions so you can make more mistakes and keep learning.” 

For every teen who is attempting to insert their true self into the world...

“Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.”

1 comment:

  1. While The Bubblegum Reaper is a figment of Quick’s imagination, Every Exquisite Thing is scattered with literary references – creating a sort of accompanying reading list: the poems of Bukowski and Larkin, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Antigone, etc. It’s a lovely way in to exploring the characters and the novel’s context even more.