Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian

Sex & Violence - it's a title that gets people's attention. Two words with general meanings that when put together can take on many connotations.

For seventeen year old Evan, sex is a casual pursuit. He has never gotten too attached to any of his partners. He has grown to look at women and admire them for the physical attributes and ponder the possibility of sex with them. The thing about sex is that you may not be the only person attracted to someone. For Evan, this is bad. Collette offers herself to him and he takes her willingly. When her ex-boyfriend finds out, Evan is cornered in the shower and brutally beaten.

Evan's dad moves them to the small lake Minnesota town where he grew up. Evan and his dad have moved many times since Evan's mother died, but he has never been to this place. Constantly moving has caused Evan to not form close relationships (with friends or lovers), so he is reluctant to befriend any of the other lake kids. He avoids doing things that bring back memories of his beating (like the shower). He also hesitates to hook up with any girl although the desire is there. It is particularly tricky with Baker who is dating a large athletic guy who could easily pummel Evan if he is not careful.

This book could have fallen into a typical story arc of Evan meeting the right girl and learning to trust in himself and others again. But life is not that easy. There are many issues being addressed in this story. For one, Evan's dad is acting differently. He is more casual and open and seems interested in the married woman next door. Two, the specter of Evan's uncle is never far away. Evan explores an off-limits island and finds things that bring him closer to an uncle who has just disappeared.

It's an amazing, complex story that does not tie up solutions to life's problems in neat little boxes.

For more info about this book, check out the Evergreen library catalog and the author's author's site.

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