Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why Napoleon Dynamite may be an inaccurate representation of Idaho


I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I recently read Vestal McIntyre’s Lake Overturn thanks to an awesome recommendation from Erica at Harper Perennial. Apparently she is known in her office for loving this book. So in my mind, I said, a) this book had one fan who was so passionate for it that her name is associated with it, and b) it’s about middle-of-nowhere Idaho, and how often do I read or see things about Idaho? Certainly not very often.

Ooh, this was just the kind of novel I love. Lots of characters who lead very different lives but are all so well-developed that you know, and feel for, each of them intimately. They all overlap somewhat but are rarely substantial in each others’ stories. Kind of like Love Actually, where all the characters in the movie know each other somehow but have independent lives and stories.

Oh but Lake Overturn certainly isn’t like Love Actually in any other regard. Lake Overturn is a little dark and certainly somewhat serious. For all these people, ranging from middle school students to a bus driver to parents to an ex-con who wants to be a surrogate mother, Lake Overturn is sort of a coming-of-age story. They all grow and learn and experience. Some end up better off than others. And behind all these individuals and their stories, there’s the overarching theme of a student’s science project, which gives the novel its title. Partly metaphorical, partly fun science project mystery—it’s a very fitting title.

All in all,

I liked all of the characters. They all had faults, but they were all completely and astoundingly human.

My interest never waned, because the characters were so diverse in terms of age and situation. No main character was like another. Despite the lives of nine (or so) characters seeming like a lot to grasp, they all flowed together seamlessly, and it never seemed like too much. And I really knew enough about each of them to really care how they ended up.

This is a great literary work.  I mean great. I want more. Please write more, Mr. McIntyre.

This takes place in the mid-80s in Idaho, but I did not get a Napoleon Dynamite vibe. Lucky for the state of Idaho, I have more than just Napoleon Dynamite representing it in my knowledge base.

1 comment:

Jenny said…

Hmmm, I can't say this book would typically interest me but your review does make it sound good.

On a side note, I LOVE Love Actually, lol!