Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Stranger on the Planet - Adam Schwartz

A Stranger on the Planet - Adam Schwartz
5 stars

(Pub date: Jan 25, 2011)

"We'd be the happiest family in the world if no one remembered anything."

The dust jacket of this book gives really very little to go on, so choosing this book was sort of a shot in the dark for me. But this line "In 1969, twelve-year-old Seth lives with his unstable mother..." made me choose it. I was thinking "Summer of Love". I was thinking Woodstock. I was wrong.

When I first started the book I was pretty convinced I wasn't going to like it. I felt like I was reading a news article with facts just being thrown at me. The next thing I knew, it was midnight and I was 100 pages in.

It's not like this is a thriller. There's not a lot of action. It's a life written in a way that made it engaging and compelling.

Seth's life.

I've always been attracted to Jewish culture, so I think that's one of the appeals of this book. And I do mean the culture, not the religion. Seth is definitely a product of his environment. He's a fantastic character. Interesting, hurt, flawed, funny.

There were a few funny moments in this story. Mostly I found it sad, sweet, beautiful and authentic. I feel like I just read a true account of someone's life. The writing was stellar, those initial concerns immediately went away. The characters were quirky, relatable, interesting, human.

I loved it. I want to give it a big hug.

I know it's only the second day of 2011, but I have a feeling this book will make my top ten list for this year.


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