In Alissa Nutting’s novel Tampa, Celeste Price, a smoldering 26-year-old middle-school teacher in Florida, unrepentantly recounts her elaborate and sociopathically determined seduction of a 14-year-old student.
Celeste has chosen and lured the charmingly modest Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his eighth-grade teacher, and, most importantly, willing to accept Celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after dark, rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works the late shift, and body-slamming erotic encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress of pure motivation. She deceives everyone, is close to no one, and cares little for anything but her pleasure.
Tampa is a sexually explicit, virtuosically satirical, American Psycho–esque rendering of a monstrously misplaced but undeterrable desire. Laced with black humor and crackling sexualized prose, Alissa Nutting’s Tampa is a grand, seriocomic examination of the want behind student / teacher affairs and a scorching literary debut.
PARTICULARS OF THE BOOK :
Published by: Harper Collins
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Author: Alissa Nutting
Purchase: Barnes & Noble
Website: Alissa Nutting
ABOUT THE AUTHOR :
Alissa Nutting’s debut novel, Tampa, will be published by Ecco/HarperCollins in 2013. She is author of the short story collection Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls (Starcherone/Dzanc 2010), which won the Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction judged by Ben Marcus.
Her fiction has or will appear in publications such as The Norton Introduction to Literature, Tin House, Bomb, and Conduit; her essays have appeared in Fence, the New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, and other venues. An assistant professor of creative writing and English literature at John Carroll University, she lives in Ohio with her husband, her daughter, and two spoiled tiny dogs.
THE BOOKISH DAME REVIEWS :
Wow! I was just shopping around my local Books-A-Million shop last weekend when I noticed "Tampa" on the new book rack. It's a black flocked (velvety) cover which really stands out among all the other books and screams, "Pick me up!" If you will read the summary above, you'll probably see why I decided to buy it. It captured my attention immediately.
This is a book that I found extremely hard to take in as I read it. It was well written, presented an amazing scenario, was completely "spider-to-the-fly" enticing, and wrapped up in a shocking manner. Up front I have to tell you it's probably one of the most absorbing and disturbing books I've read in a very long time, and though it's shocking in so many respects, I have to recommend it to those who are reading controversial literature today. It's not for the fool hardy or for those seeking a sweet story. It's in your face.
Alissa Nutting brings to light all of the recent news stories of young teachers who have been seducing their junior and high school students. She shines a light on the issue in several ways. One particular thing that kept striking me (and let me be clear there were many!) was the idea that it was pedophilia pure and simple. And, yet, it came to mind that we let women off the hook more often than we do men in the same situations in this country. The story Ms Nutting writes with the seduction and the following complications is edge of your seat frightening.
There is so much to say about this book that I'm stymied. I'm at a loss to tell you all the controversial things it brings up. The explicit sex described between the young, barely teen-aged boys with their older teacher is sickening at times, and naïve at other moments. It's erotic, and it's wrong but it gives a clear vision, it seems to me, into the mind of both the pursuer and the pursued. The willingly pursued...
In terms of the social, moral and political mind-set in our country, this book has a good deal to tell us. In light of all the teachers we see on national news in recent court hearings who have had relationships with their young male students, it brings a lot to the table. It's a harrowing story. It made me think about my own morality and social position on this important issue.
I strongly recommend "Tampa," though with the reservation that it does have explicit sex throughout. It's a book that fits well within our times. I think it's a story that needed to be told. It's a book that should shake us out of our complacency.
5 stars Deborah/TheBookishDame