• Historical Fiction
  • General Fiction and Women Writers
  • YA Fiction
  • Suspense and Thrillers
  • Memoirs and Non Fiction
  • Classics and Mashups

Sunday, October 27, 2013

"Tampa" by Alissa Nutting~Explicit Sex & Controversial


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.


Published by:  Harper Collins
Pages:  272
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Author:  Alissa Nutting
Purchase:  Barnes & Noble
Website:  Alissa Nutting


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.


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

Kirkus Reviews
A middle school teacher in Tampa, Fla., goes to outrageous lengths to hide her voracious sexual appetite for adolescent boys. Nutting certainly brought dark overtones to her story collection Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls (2010), but even that auspicious debut pales next to the unclean psyche at the heart of her first novel. In a story that makes Nicholson Baker's work look hygienic by comparison, Nutting unleashes a devious temptress whose acts of deception are as all-consuming as her incessant masturbatory frenzy. Our narrator, Celeste Price, looks absolutely harmless on the surface. She's married to a rich suburban police officer, drives a hot car, and her looks could cause car wrecks. Unfortunately for her, Celeste is also deeply, unfixably broken. She says that the loss of her virginity at age 14 imprinted on her, and she has been working unceasingly as a student teacher to get to the mother lode: a gig as a full-time teacher of eighth-grade boys. In her first year, she obsesses over her chosen target, young Jack Patrick, on whom she ruminates in the most illustrative fashion. "Something in his chin-length blond hair, in the diminutive leanness of his chest, refined for me just what it was about the particular subset of this age group that I found entrancing," Celeste confesses. "He was at the very last link of androgyny that puberty would permit him: undeniably male but not man." Once she convinces Jack to give in, Celeste performs every salacious, graphic sexual act under the sun--almost as if she is committing these brazen acts on him and not with him. She even starts sleeping with her lover's father just to cover her tracks. For decades, transgressive fiction has traditionally been grim, male and graphic. For those few voices asking why there aren't more women working in this swamp, this one's for you. A taxing attempt to penetrate the mind of female child molesters with grimy, mundane results.
Marilyn Dahl
“TAMPA is one of the most shocking books I have read; it’s also one of the most mesmerizing and surprising. I expected to be disturbed, even appalled; what I did not expect in this story of a female teacher fixated on 14-year-old boys was lyricism and black humor.”
—New York Times
“...A highly diverting read...Ms. Nutting lands it.”
—Daily Beast
“Impeccably written, full of smart cultural observations, and no small amount of wit...A very bold book.”
—Entertainment Weekly
“The writing is often excellent, hilariously dark, and mean…Reading about [Celeste] was honestly disturbing and fun.”
—NewYorkmagazine.com's Vulture
It’s as riveting as it is disturbing.”
“Completely entertaining.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“In this sly and salacious work, Nutting forces us to take a long, unflinching look at a deeply disturbed mind, and more significantly, at society’s often troubling relationship with female beauty.”
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“A work of serious ambition, both literary and moral. It’s also laced with dark, sometimes savage humor and juicy riffs on consumer culture and its twin obsessions, youth and beauty.”
—Shelf Awareness
“Tampa is one of the most shocking books I have read; it’s also one of the most mesmerizing and surprising. Alissa Nutting has written a stunning, brutal book.”
“A deliriously enjoyable, absolutely shocking book—a morality tale that tempts and taunts readers to succumb to every kind of immorality.”
—New York Journal of Books
“Smart and biting.”
“A brilliant commentary on sex and society.”
—Tin House
“Tampa takes on a very serious and disturbing subject with such flair and dark humor and bawdy sexual energy that Nutting is sure to become a member in the small club of authors who turns risky writing into high art.”
—MSN Entertainment
“Bold and fascinatingly transgressive…Tampa may be the new American Psycho.”



I really want to read this even though I know it's going to bother me.


Utterly stunning book, Kathy. You have to set aside some time to read it. It is distressing...no doubt. But I think it's time we faced the real issues it brings up.

Hyacinth Marius

I started with the free preview because I didn't want to buy it and hate the book. Well I ended up buying the ebook edition and I've had trouble putting it down. It's not my normal kind of read but It's so good I want to read more and more. It's so captivating that I was almost late for work twice, and almost missed my bus stop because I couldn't put it down! Must Read!
great deals Paver Contractor information

Share your thoughts!

Blogaholic Designs”=