Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Paradox of Vertical Flight by Emil Ostrovski

The Paradox of Vertical Flight
Good Reads Summary
The Paradox of Vertical Flight by Emil Ostrovski

What happens when you put a suicidal eighteen-year-old, his ex-girlfriend, his best friend, and his kidnapped newborn baby in a truck and send them to Grandma's house? Read to find out! This debut teen novel by Emil Ostrovski will appeal to fans of John Green, Chris Crutcher, and Andrew Smith.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

My saying anything about this feels almost useless because I am not even sure about where to begin or how to. It’s the blurb that got me: suicidal kid, best friend, ex-girl friend and a baby... the makings of a joke? Not quite as it’s surprisingly deep, with the lead asking these questions, considering certain possibilities, and some other impossibilities. Yet, it’s in listening to him ask questions then struggle to lay out the answer for his kid that I was frustrated and fascinated… as I certainly wasn’t like him as a kid. My world at his age was smaller… the next A, the next dead line and avoiding any danger of looking like an idiot in school. His is so much bigger with his infinities, some smaller ones, and others bigger ones.

I was expecting something funny and road trip-light…. and while we do get a lot of that, you’d be surprised at how contemplative the mood got. How he’s always thinking and trying to fit the pieces together for himself and for the kid. All the while, there’s me, my mind about to explode grasping but not really grasping what he was saying. It’s brilliant the things he was putting out there (sometimes brilliantly stupid even) so I enjoyed it particularly as it’s clear he wasn’t the only one that way. He had people like him, see him, and know him… and ‘get’ him despite knowing how convoluted/ confusing one matter related to another matter in his head.

Yet for all his deep thoughts, all those eventually felt somehow inconsequential. As there is a Bigger Question wanting to be asked and answered: as in the so what now? It’s at this point you see Jack’s just like anybody else, coming to terms with the need to let go, grow up, and see that growing up and people going their own way aren’t necessarily a parting of ways, but oddly but holding on too.

But… geez! To get to that point? There were so many other things (seemingly mind blowing but in reality quite inconsequential matters pointed out like how we’re each one part of it all or those matters of choice versus matters beyond one’s control – all big things but immaterial to what Jack’s not dealing with).  So things got mind blowing, but at the same time frustrating too because why was he thinking about all these things anyway? It all felt so useless some of these thought (even with them being brilliant in being asked at all.)

As to the people in it, I know loved this story a smidge more because of them. How there’s this  authentic connection between him and Tommy, then him and Jess. How both of them saw something in him and he and them, and there’s this banter that’s almost always sarcastic. Sarcasm is the body’s natural self defenses against stupid, right? Well, these two had the remedy for his stupid time and time again, but there wasn’t anything mean to it, just an understanding that since this guy thought differently then he too needed to be told off in a different way. It’s that knowing among them that I loved.

Which leads me to Jess and her fire breathing vagina and how he finally realizes what a jackass he’d been… it’s moments like  those when I felt he was getting his head out of his ass and not just thinking of things of no consequence. I mean sure, a lot of the things he thought/said are brilliant (brilliantly stupid or just plain brilliant) but it’s him seeing things for what they are beyond him contemplating these ‘big things’ that I liked the guy more. So throw in details being bridged toward bigger truths with moments of Friendship as well as question of loving and being loved, and this was equal parts fascinating, frustrating, then hilarious.


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