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Tampa

Tampa - Alissa Nutting Have you ever read a book that left you having no real feelings after finishing it? In the case of TAMPA by Alissa Nutting, it wasn’t so much that I felt nothing – it was because the book had creeped me out so much that by the end, I had no real emotions left one way or another. Let’s just be real – this is a story about a 26 year old teacher with a big time fetish for 14 year old boys, to the point where she has dedicated her entire life to finding 14 year old boys to seduce before they achieve manhood and no longer become attractive to her.Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this book will keep you awake at night. But there is just something about it that left me very conflicted…THAT UNEASY FEELING IN YOUR STOMACH…TAMPA is a book that should leave you feeling very, very disturbed by the time you reach the ending. It’s a creepy little monster of a book that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. But let’s get to the big kicker about this one first – Nutting has a way with words that makes a story that makes you want to quit reading from page one irresistible and a complete page-turner. While you want to retch while reading some of the descriptions of Celeste’s attractions (and what she does and think to get a 14 year old to fall in love with her), you cannot deny that Nutting is a skilled weaver of words. If this had been in less-capable hands, the story would have been an ode to pedophilia. As it stands now, TAMPA is definitely squicky, but it takes on a new character of its own. It’s this crazy little monster that you can’t help but keep reading and…. Well, enjoy. I will say this. This book is not for everyone, and if you can’t handle the fact that it is a detailed account (albeit somewhat satirical) of a woman seducing her teenage student, then don’t even attempt to read it. You won’t enjoy it. At all. Period.…BUT VERY WELL WRITTEN!Yep, this book is well-written. Although I never wanted to root for our anti-heroine Celeste (hell no), I kind of hated myself for getting into her skin and understanding her creepy motivations. Alissa Nutting, I kind of hate you now for that. Getting into the mind of a pedophile might have scarred me for life. Or at least severely traumatized me because getting into the mind of a woman who goes to great lengths to specifically choose and seduce a 14 year old really squicked me out.On top of this, our heroine Celeste is a psychopath who has no cares for those around her, not even her perfect little boys. Okay, creeped out more now just remembering that.So why am I only giving TAMPA three stars? Well, to be honest… I never really understood what the intention of this book was. Was it supposed to be a riff on LOLITA or a satire about suburbia? Was it supposed to be a pseudo-horror novel? Whatever it was, TAMPA is going to be a very controversial novel. It’s a novel about a woman who spends her life fantasizing about pubescent boys as if they’re the Edward Cullen of now. Even if Celeste is a completely creepy, unredeemable character, Nutting gets you into her mind and envelops you in the creepy mindset of a person. Like the book or not, you’re going to leave feeling really, really in need of a cold shower and a lot of soap. Trust me on that.VERDICT: TAMPA is a controversial novel about a controversial subject. It will not be for everyone, and it possibly wasn’t even for me. But Alissa Nutting is a wordsmith, and her story of a pedophile teacher made me feel things I never want to feel again. Period.