I love Carrie Mesrobian because she writes serious books. Important books. Books that matter and that have the potential to make readers think about important things.
A while back, I read Sex & Violence. I loved the rawness and authenticity of the text. I raved about it, petitioned my library to buy a copy, made my friends and coworkers promise to read it. Because it’s that good.
Perfectly Good White Boy is much the same. It’s deep and raw and important. I have to admit, I found Sean’s first-person perspective extremely annoying for the first couple of chapters, until I settled in to his particular thought patterns and manner of talking. Once I got used to that, I saw just how well-written the book is. Mesrobian almost perfectly pins down Sean’s voice…at least as well as an adult woman possibly could. She forces the reader into the thoughts of a teenage boy – sex and opportunity and the future and struggles with school and parents and drugs and feelings of inadequacy. I don’t know about you, but I don’t get that perspective often, so it was really interesting for me. I liked Sean, and I disliked Sean, and I invested my feelings and hopes in Sean.
Plotwise, this isn’t a book filled with action. There aren’t any time travelers or vampires, no court intrigues or dystopian societies or boarding school dramas. Instead, it’s more of a gentle character study. The story follows Sean throughout his senior year in high school, as he faces the uncertainties of the future and tries to decide what happens next. It’s a beautiful snapshot of the pressures teens face to live up to expectations and to have everything figured out.
When it comes down to it, I really enjoyed this novel. I think we expect so much from our teenagers today that the younger generations are being crippled by anxiety, inadequacy, and doubt. This book is a great testament to that. I can’t stress enough how important every section of this novel is, even in the seemingly trivial matters that Sean faces. I highly recommend this!