Sunday, 14 June 2009

Review - My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters / Sydney Salter

Summary - It's the end of junior year, and summer is about to begin. The Summer of Passion, to be exact, when Jory Michaels plans to explore all the possibilities of the future--and, with any luck, score a boyfriend in the process. But Jory has a problem. A big problem. A curvy, honking, bumpy, problem in the form of her Super Schnozz, the one thing standing between Jory and happiness. And now, with the Summer of Passion stretched before her like an open road, she's determined for Super Schnozz to disappear. Jory takes a job delivering wedding cakes to save up for a nose job at the end of the summer; she even keeps a book filled with magazine cutouts of perfect noses to show the doctor. But nothing is ever easy for accident-prone Jory--and before she knows it, her Summer of Passion falls apart faster than the delivery van she crashes. In her hilarious and heartbreaking debut novel, Sydney Salter delivers a story about broadening your horizons, accepting yourself, and finding love right under your nose.

Review - Anyone who has ever been sensitive about a part of their body can sympathise with Jory, the protagonist of this novel. But what is most magical about Jory, isn't the Super Schnozz, but how ordinary she is. Unlike many protagonists she's not gifted, fiercely intelligent or especially feisty - she's just like everyone else...with some spacial awareness issues. But like everyone else in the known world, Jory's self-conscious, self-doubting and wanting to find herself.

This novel is predictable in the events that occur in the final chapters but unpredictable in the many options that could be Jory's man of choice. That being said, I could have done without the two incidents where Jory places herself in danger of sexual assault. One would have been sufficient and no matter how dim, you'd think a girl would learn. While Jory is especially endearing with her snark and witticisms, her friends are less so. It's common for teen girls to ditch friends for boys but the callousness and selfishness displayed in this novel, while probably realistic, is quite appalling. The number of times these girls willingly and deliberately put themselves, and each other, in harm's way infuriated me.

It's the chaos that surrounds Jory that makes her even more loveable. There's her mum who is continuously inflicting weird diets on the family, the brilliantly insightful and chilled Helen, the slightly bizarre and moody Gideon, the muscle bound Wooster Tom and confused Tyler (who's presence was missed in the latter sections). The characterisation is fantastic, the tone light and humorous with enough introspection to give the character some heft. I really enjoyed this book despite my quibbles and think many others will too.

Published: April 1, 2009
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Publisher: Sandpiper
Origin: USA
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Thao said...

I agree with you, I hate her friends so much I hope they're real so I can kick their butts lol. Jory is such a cute character and I love this book to the max :)

Elizabeth said...

I didn't like her friends either.

I think your review puts it well: the main plot arc about self-acceptance is predictable (too much so, I think), but the boyfriend storylines are refreshingly unpredictable.

I wasn't sure it was necessary to have made one of the characters into quite such a villain in his last scene, though. It would have been interesting if he were just plain not right for her, instead of an assaulting jerk!