Random House LLC
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The Last Exit to Normal Kindle Edition
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"Because [Harmon's] take on people is convincing, audiences will want to believe in his story, too."
Starred Review, School Library Journal, April 2008:
"It is filled with atypical character interactions that make it an excellent read."
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
- File Size : 510 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 290 pages
- ASIN : B001BWSMAQ
- Publisher : Knopf Books for Young Readers; 1st Edition (March 11, 2008)
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Publication Date : March 11, 2008
- Language: : English
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,955,626 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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17 year old Ben tempers his initial hostility to nearly everything and everyone, quickly adapts to doing chores 8 hours a day, befriends an abused boy, confronts the abused boy's father, travels to Vegas to find the boy's estranged mother, single-handedly rescues a farmer trapped under an overturned tractor, falls in love, engages in a relentless battle with his father, Edward and Edward's mother, learns to shoot skeet and partridge, takes on the town's psychopathic bully, rescues the abused boy from a burning house, accepts employment pseudo-managing a farm, resolves his issues with his father, enrolls in home-study ,acquires a taste for country music, reconnects with his own estranged mother and gets a puppy.
Sort of an implausible cross between an after-school-special and a soap opera in a rapid-fire sequence of events that would have left James Dean gasping for breath and yet, as unbelievable as it seems, it was compelling reading. Most of the main characters carried a load of personal baggage but had believable personas and all the interpersonal conflicts seemed more real than contrived although their sheer number was a little overwhelming. Clearly the author does have a talent for writing in a way that draws you in.
Since the "hero" is 17 years old and manages to solve an endless stream of problems that were too difficult for his elders to deal with, I assume the author's intended audience is a good deal younger than I am. Had I realized that before buying the book I would probably never have read it. I'm glad I did read it because there were a lot of thought-provoking, complex interpersonal issues dealt with realistically. I would imagine that it might be especially meaningful for young people who are dealing with their own resentment and frustration because they perceive that their family circumstances don't conform to the supposedly normal/stereotypical (and yet atypical) American dream family. It might also be useful for adults who still cling to anger issues that arose during their formative years.
This wonderful story "hooked" me from the first pages with it's sassy dialog, storyline and characters--it easily made its way into my head and heart. Being a Montanan I wondered how the setting would fit with this story(ever notice when a book or movie wants to depict desolate or "in the middle of nowhere" it's spelled M O N T A N A??) and all I can say is the author's choice of location was spot on. I know people and situations like the author describes--the story really works. This is one of those stories that is more than the sum of its parts. On one hand it is about a troubled teen trying to come to grips with a huge family-life change and situations beyond his control. It's also a story about stereotypes, mental-illness, making the best of situations, adaptability, resourcefulness and community. A lot of big ideas are woven into this story--great stuff for thematic discussions "...you can disagree about certain things people do, but to disrespect them because of it makes you less of a person....they live by different standards."
I will definitely be recommending this to teen readers who are looking for a great read with substance AND humor!
That means that books like this, which are not top tier are enjoyable because there is so much out there that is horrible.
The happenings in the book are fun, but highly unlikely. However, the protagonist is likeable and pretty honest with himself. Two gay guys moving to a small town in Montana and starting a popular restaurant? Well, I did say some of it was not likely. However, the protagonist pays attention to what is important and grows up a lot in the book.
Oddly enough, the mother getting pissed off and leaving the kid with his father? This is actually believeable, since I know a fair number of kids that this happened to. And, yes, it does mess the kids up as much as if the father does it.
Overall, a good read, even if not great.
The dry humor was so refreshing. Like, wearing Wranglers for the first time after being a "skater". Duct tape? Ouch!
This book would be enjoyed by either gender. The story has everything I expect a really great book to have. Excellent, don't miss it.