Teens @ Duluth

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Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You – Peter Cameron

Posted by Laura on May 29, 2008

Someday this pain will be useful to you is a novel about James Sveck, an eighteen year old New Yorker who doesn’t want to go to college. He thinks he can learn everything he needs to know by reading books. He will buy a house in the Midwest and read Trollope, Denton Welch and Eric Rohmer.  That would be much better than spending time in school with people his age who he has nothing in common with and who have nothing interesting to say.  He works in his mother’s art gallery where currently on display is a collection of garbage can art by a nameless artist (he doesn’t believe in the use of names).

Months ago, something happens with James at a seminar in Washington, D.C. that causes concern for his family.  He won’t talk about it because he doesn’t have anything he needs to say.

He doesn’t fit in.  He doesn’t really want to fit in.  He doesn’t want to go to college.  His parents each ask him if he is gay.  Why should it matter?  Was his sister, Gillian (now pronounced with a hard G) asked if she was heterosexual?  And why does their Standard Poodle, Miro, act like he thinks he is human?  (Although, don’t all dogs act like this?)

If you read this book, which I think is worthwhile, you will come across words that you would expect to find on a college entrance exam.  You will meet a character who has something missing inside.  A character who thinks.  A character who likes words to be used properly.  A character who is sad all of the time.


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