Thursday, April 17, 2014

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

NogginNoggin by John Corey Whaley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

With musings of ''You can find ways to be okay with dying, but you can't fake your way through living.' finding themselves intertwined with 16 year old boy humor, Noggin is a touching mix of the funny (in a cringe-please-don't-do-what-i-think-you're-up- to) and the deep. It's the second that should not have come as a surprise (considering this comes from the same author who brought us 'Where Things Come Back') Yet, set that last aside and there is unexpected depth---emphazised by Travis and the 'he's such a boy' feel he starts his story with. And while he is funny, all the humor (and there's plenty) doesn't quite disguise the truth:  there's more here, to him and then them than initially thought.

Dying, dead, and now back, Noggin has Travis as Rip Van Winkle only half a decade in; it's a period that's long enough to have things be different, only not quite for him especially, but not exclusively:

Because there are contrasts made between of what he knew AND what he's learning; between how he was with them VERSUS how they all are without him that kept tugging at me. It's the incongruence of it all for him (then for them) about what he recalls and how things are that allow for that mix of cringeworthy kid-move as seen through people who knew him BUT NOT vice versa, because he is stuck while they've moved on. He wants things a certain way and can't get things-people- to line up; yet in attempting to get things done, we see: that that incongruence between what's-wanted and what-is is not his alone; there too are more than a couple of 'What now's?' for those around him.

Yet the reverse is true and most moving as well- that while he's viewed as this kid who's come back while they have grown- either by growing up, growing apart, and growing 'smarter', there's even a more felt truth in him finally pointing out that he is just a kid despite the year and despite the rest of them having grown up-apart-smarter.   

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