Carter got it, and you should, too

Posted in Favorite Books at 7:24 pm by Janet

I recently read Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford. This was a really refreshing read for two reasons. First, I haven’t laughed at a book so hard since I read An Abundance of Katherines. Second, this book was about a normal kid in normal situations. I don’t know if I’ve been reading too many fantasy novels lately or what, but it was really nice to read about a kid who’s not in any kind of extreme circumstances. And yeah, PC police, I should clarify that “normal” for me means someone like I was–a kid who lives with parents who love him, has friends, is accepted at school, is athletic, is a little bit douffy, and is not facing any kind of life-threatening or world-altering challenges. 

Carter starts high school with everything going for him–a good group of friends, a bitchy-but-wise older sister, and a newly hot girlfriend named Abby. But after Abby’s best friend, extra-hot Amber, asks him to homecoming and he makes the idiot move of saying yes, things start to fall apart. Abby ditches him and he becomes a social pariah. That doesn’t stop Carter from (kind of) kicking ass on the swim team, joing drama and liking it (!), and generally succeeding at surviving high school. Still, Carter’s tortured by his breakup with Abby. The spring musical brings them together and Carter finally has the chance to get it. And if you want to know what IT is, well…you know what to do.

Carter has ADD, which complicates his life at school and with friends. Though he’s not hyperactive, he tends to space out and randomly blurt shit out. I have to say, I also recently read Joey Pigza Swallows the Key and that was just a mind-bendingly painful portrayal of ADHD. Getting through a day with Joey is sheer hell. Not that that isn’t valid for Joey and for some people, but Carter’s so much more believeable and easier for most people (or maybe just me?) to relate to, as his situation isn’t as extreme. Being inside his brain can suck, but you can live with it and manage it. I’ll say kudos to Crawford for putting together a realistic, generally sympathetic portrayal of someone with ADD. 

Now for the funny stuff. Some of it comes from the book being kinda dirty. Carter is constantly leering at girls and he and his friends are obsessed with sex. They do get smacked down a lot. Some of it comes from the inevitable bullies, nicknames, and fights of high school. My favorite part was when Carter unexpectedly gets the school bully kicked out of school. “‘Ohhh, OH no you didn’t,’ he screams. ‘Nobody touches the TERRY!’ Then he starts punching himself in the face. This kid is really crazy! I may not even have to fight him. He’s doing it for me, and I’m winning!”

One problem I have with this book is the cover. I’m not really sure what it means. Why is there a notebook thing on the side? It doesn’t really relate to anything in the book, as far as I can tell. I think the publisher could have done better. What do you think?

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