Just Giblets

Peter Cameron Scores with a Coming of Age Novel for Teens

22nd September 2007
by Michael

Peter Cameron Scores with a Coming of Age Novel for Teens

posted in Books, Reviews |

Someday this pain will be useful to youPeter Cameron is not an overly prolific author, but I do savor each of his works when they are published. His latest novel, Someday this pain will be useful to you, is an elegant coming-of-age tale about 18-year-old James. Living in Manhattan, disdainful of people his age, enamored of the idea of buying a big house in the midwest, James Sveck has a wry, if immature sense of humor and an annoying propensity to focus on correct grammar when engaged in conversation.

James parents aren’t completely equipped to help James navigate this tricky transition from high school to college. His mother has just returned from Vegas after her third marriage… without her husband. His father is concerned that when James orders something pasta instead of steak in the executive cafeteria he comes across as faggy. When James runs away from a school trip to DC, he ends up seeing a psychiatrist, who he challenges at every turn, but in a refreshing turn, is unable to outwit. James has also got a crush on the man who works with him at his mother’s gallery, but when a case of poor judgment alienates him, he is left with only his aging grandmother, who he adores, to turn to for solace.

Cameron has created a unique, teen voice in Someday this pain will be useful to you, one that rings true, and is able to balance the many portraits of suburban and rural voices of youth in literature. His prose is economical and graceful, and his resolution satisfying without answering all of life’s questions.

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