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The Last Exit to Normal av Michael Harmon
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The Last Exit to Normal (utgåvan 2008)

av Michael Harmon

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2581680,666 (3.77)7
Yanked out of his city life and plunked down into a small Montana town with his father and his father's boyfriend, seventeen-year-old Ben, angry and resentful about the changed circumstances of his life, begins to notice that something is not quite right with the little boy next door and determines to do something about it.… (mer)
Medlem:sshadoan
Titel:The Last Exit to Normal
Författare:Michael Harmon
Info:Knopf Books for Young Readers (2008), Library Binding, 288 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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Taggar:Ingen/inga

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The Last Exit to Normal av Michael Harmon

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» Se även 7 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 16 (nästa | visa alla)
It's been a really long time since I've either given up on a book or disliked it so much that I couldn't even hate-read it through to the end.

Ben is the protagonist who's father came home one day and announced he was gay. Mom walked out--which just effed up. Ben, having had his world fall apart, goes full-on delinquent, alcohol, drugs, general terrible behavior. After a while dad forced them into therapy, they have some breakthroughs. Things get a lot better, not perfect, but better. Ben cleans up his act and has even gotten used to his stepdad, whom he calls momdad, even if he doesn't love the situation. He has one slip-up and they decided it's a good idea to move a teenaged city boy to the middle of nowhere Montana.

So we're talking two gay men moving back to one's hometown--the town he moved away from for very good reason, and they bring their son/stepson with them. They move into his childhood home with his mother, who doesn't like that her son his gay, but he's still her son, so there's that.

Bonnie Mae, or Miss Mae, is old school country, respect is demanded, manners are insisted upon, no cussing or sarcasm, beatings and/or starvation as punishment. Yeah great idea for a smart-assed teenager with two dads.

This books is just a mess. Verbal threats, physical abuse, starvation, and forcing Ben to sleep in the woodshed. And this is all from Miss Mae. And dad just sits back and lets this woman do this to his child. Like, what?! I don't care what lame excuse you want to use, "they do things different," "she's from a different time," "we're guests in her home." I'll be damned if I let someone lay a hand on my child. You'd best not even discipline my child, especially if I'm close enough to be called to handle a situation.

Miss Mae is an asshole. Dad is an asshole. Ben is an asshole. The only one who's decent is Edward, who willingly came back to the town that tortured him throughout his childhood, just to help his partner's child stay on the straight and narrow. The neighbor is also an abusive, homophobic asshole, who beats the living daylights out of his son because Ben was talking to him, even after the boy told Ben to leave him alone, even after Ben told the man that he had approached the boy who didn't want to talk to him.

I didn't think I would finish it because I didn't even care if there was character growth or a redemption arc. But I toyed with the idea of slogging through it anyway. And then the little neighbor boy shot a stray cat just because. That's it. Just. Because.

I "noped" out of that book and cannot recommend anyone to read it. ( )
  ViragoReads | Jun 13, 2019 |
Three years ago, Ben Campbell’s was as normal as could be. Then his dad suddenly announced he was gay. Now Ben has no mother, she walked out the door and never looked back. He’s doing every drug he can get his hands on. Then a year ago Ben cleaned himself up. For almost an entire year he hasn’t gotten into trouble, he’s done well in school, and he’s sort of civil with everyone. But then he goes and gets arrested and that’s that. His dad, and his “Momdad” Edward, take Ben and move him to the middle of nowhere, Rough Butte, Montana, population 400, to live with Edward’s mother Miss Mae.

So now, at the age of 17, Ben finds himself starting over all over again. Now the city boy has to learn to live in the backward country of Montana, where everyone drives huge trucks, wear Wrangler’s and Ropers, and works. Really works. But the hardest part is to come for now he has to deal with the creepy guy next door, big brother’s looking to scare the potential boyfriend away and a grandmother who isn’t afraid to whack him with a spoon at the first opportunity.

"The decoder card to the universe wasn’t included in the box of cereal God gave humanity. At the ripe old age of seventeen, I’d at least figured out that no matter how hard you try to guess what happens next, you can’t. Life wasn’t set up that way and we don’t like it, so we spend most of our time running around like a bunch of dimwits."

The best part of The Last Exit to Nowhere is Ben. Ben’s voice is spot on ‘teenager.’ He’s angry, sarcastic, challenging, very intelligent, honest, brash, stubborn, romantic, awkward, comical, depressed, and funny, and like most teenagers he shifts from one emotion to the next with surprising speed. Ben’s relationship with his dad was the best drawn plot of the book. It felt real and complex. The problems the two had, Ben accepting his father’s homosexuality, his father’s desire for that acceptance, but unwillingness to deal with it himself spoke true to me.

Harmon pulled no punches with this coming-of-age story. It actually left me in tears a couple of times. This story of a misfit boy who is struggling to fix all the lives around him while trying to figure out his own is powerful and a must read. Don’t miss it.
( )
  capriciousreader | Mar 20, 2018 |
There is just enough humor to keep this tale of teenage angst from being maudlin. Ben's life has been on a downward spiral since his dad's announcement that he was gay and Ben's mom leaves them both. Ben, his dad and Edward (his MomDad) move back to Montana where Edward grew up and Ben learns much about life and responsibilities from a wide array of well-defined charachers ( )
  lindap69 | Apr 5, 2013 |
Plot: A few years ago Logan’s father came out of the closet and it blew their family apart. Logan’s mother took off and Logan had to live with the embarrassment of having a gay dad. So he starts acting out, getting in trouble. Logan is now 17 and his dad, at a loss moves them all to his boyfriend’s tiny, rural hometown. Logan’s dad hopes to straighten him out but Logan is more worried about the neighbor’s kid. His mother has also run off and Logan suspects that he is being abused.

This book disappointed me a bit. The plot and the writing was fine (an easy read even for reluctant readers) but I picked up some messages that I found distinctly disturbing.

For one, Logan calls his father some pretty nasty things (fag among them) and is not very accepting of the fact that he is gay. I could accept this in the name of realism. Would your average teenage boy be cool with his dad being gay? No. And having worked with teens, I know they can swing around offensive terms quite casually. The problem is rather how this is dealt with in the narrative. Logan’s dad is selfish and oversensitive for being offended by Logan’s comments and his boyfriend Edward (who Logan refers to as his “Momdad” which is strange too) is cool because he understands that Logan “doesn’t really mean anything by it”. Really? Is this the message we want to be giving teens?

And for a book that claims that beating a child is abuse, it seems to show that it is a quite effective way of straightening (no pun intended) a boy out. While Logan worries about the neighbor’s boy getting beaten and locked up, Edward’s mother beats him with spoons, makes him sleep in the shed, and generally brow beats him. And while he grumbles, it works. He turns almost instantly into a polite, hardworking boy who feels quite a bit of affection for the gruff old lady. He doesn’t listen to or respect his father who is repeatedly referred to as effeminate who worries too much and tries solve problems by talking. Really, all that Logan needed was to be beaten by an old lady with a spoon.

I wasn’t expecting an easy book with easy answers to living in what can be a difficult situation but this book, frankly, bothered me. ( )
  roguelibrarian | Sep 26, 2010 |
Full review at http://yannabe.com/2010/02/17/review-last-exit-to-normal/

Summary: After 17-year-old Ben’s dad announces that he’s gay, Ben rebels by skipping school and doing drugs. Then his dad decides they’re moving from the city to a small town in Montana. Trying to fit in while sporting a mohawk turns out to be the least of Ben’s problems.

Review: I wanted to love this book. I did love several aspects of it, and I am glad I read it. But it wasn’t one of my favorites.

What I loved:

* The grit—The tough conversations between Ben and his dad were so real they were almost painful to read at times. In a good way.
* The issues—Homophobia, child abuse, abandonment. The book takes on big-ticket issues with a capital I, but it didn’t feel like a thinly veiled morality play.
* The funny—Here, Ben is about to go on a date with a country girl, and he’s asking his dad’s boyfriend Edward for advice. Edward starts off with what he knows about the girl’s dad:

“If I remember correctly, he’s a very harsh man, and one not to cross.” He thought for a moment. “Yes sir, no sir, thank you, please, nice to meet you, Mr. Johan, firm handshake, look him in the eye, and for God’s sake don’t eye her boobs, even accidentally, unless you’re at least a mile from the house. Men have shotguns for a reason around here.”

I nodded, soaking it all in. Fear gripped me, but love would climb any mountain. “One more thing.”

“What?”

“What is baling hay, anyway?”

He laughed. “And you thought you worked hard yesterday. Poor child.”

“Crap.”

But here are the things that got in the way of me loving this book through-and-through:

* Backstory frontloading—The first chapter was s-l-o-w. I almost put the book down. I once read a tip in a writing book that you should cut your first chapter, start with the second, and sprinkle the first chapter backstory in later only if necessary. This book might have benefited from that trick.
* Internal monologue—Not everywhere, but in certain spots I felt like I was getting Ben’s entire thought process.
* Melodramatic tendencies—As the story started to wrap up, a few scenes came off as a bit cheesy for my taste.
* Kiss offscreen—Maybe this is just because I’m a girl that this bugged me, but the first kiss between Ben and the girl he’s interested in happened…offscreen! It’s this offhand comment in the narration. Bummer!

None of these issues were huge, but they all pulled me out of the story and got in the way of me connecting on a deeper level to the book. ( )
  kellyholmes | Feb 17, 2010 |
Visa 1-5 av 16 (nästa | visa alla)
This book is amazing and you just have to have to read it!!! ?It's great!
tillagd av tearsXsolitude | ändralibrarything.com
 
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Yanked out of his city life and plunked down into a small Montana town with his father and his father's boyfriend, seventeen-year-old Ben, angry and resentful about the changed circumstances of his life, begins to notice that something is not quite right with the little boy next door and determines to do something about it.

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