- File Size: 2394 KB
- Print Length: 320 pages
- Publisher: Scholastic Fiction; 1 edition (May 4, 2017)
- Publication Date: May 4, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B06XKTMDB4
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,269 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Digital List Price:||$7.50|
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Noah Can't Even Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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I like to support any YA LGBT books out there because I think there should be more of them. I was really looking forward to reading this one, and maybe my expectations were too high. Or my internal embarrassment for him was too great. I don't know. It just didn't work as well for me as I thought it would.
It was hard for me to connect to Noah, especially at the beginning of the book. His lack of filter and slapstick actions were comical at first. His over-the-top (IMO) behavior was initially funny to me, but after having a continuous feed of it, it became overwhelming. It was hard for me to handle being in his wacky, clueless, chaotic head. The boy basically thought in hyperbole. (But I did enjoy his endless facts that he would spout off in a nanosecond, totally out of sync with what was cool.)
It was going to be a 2-star read for me, but eventually by 50% I was able to resign myself - and consciously cut off my qualms of embarrassment for him - that this was just how he was going to be all the time. It became more enjoyable after that fact.
What I did love was Harry. The fact that Harry loved and truly enjoyed Noah for his wack-a-doodle self told me what a great guy he was. I might read the sequel Noah Could Never, noting that it is rated higher than this one. I haven't decided quite yet. If I do, I'll have to be in a certain mood, understanding that "Noah will be Noah," and just go with the flow.
Oh, lord, I remember that. It makes me cringe, how clearly I remember that.
Noah’s mother is a mess. As far as he sees it, she is neglectful and indifferent. There is a good deal of evidence to support his opinion, but the author also puts in the book several moments that suggest otherwise. Clearly, Noah’s mother, Lisa, makes many bad choices, not the least of which is her Beyoncé tribute act under the nom de theatre of Ruby Devine. But Noah also has Harry, his best friend and fellow geek since forever. And then there’s his grandmother, Millie, who taught him genteel ways and worldly wisdom. Sadly, gran is in a care home (and not a nice one), as dementia steals her away from him bit by bit.
If you look at it, this story has a tragic foundation. It is through the genius of Simon James Green’s writing that Noah’s story is not only hilarious, but also uplifting. Unlike Candide, who constantly evokes “the best of all possible worlds” (which was Voltaire being snarky, because he was a total cynic, too), Noah sees his world as the worst possible world, from which he yearns to escape. He lives in a nothing town with an absent father and a negligent mother. He is bullied and ignored, and shelters his soul within elaborate game-playing scenarios with Harry.
When a totally cool, smart and popular girl named Sophie takes Noah and Harry to a party at a well-off girl’s house, Noah sees this as his ticket to normality.
“It was all happening. They were being illegal teenagers.”
Then, illuminated with alcohol, Noah’s world goes entirely off the rails, triggering a madcap series of events that go from bad to worse, as all of his dreams of normality come tumbling down around him.
“Was this what being a ‘normal’ teenager was meant to be like? Empty. Frightened. Alone.”
It would be heartbreaking, except for the author’s cleverness, which somehow keeps the comedy one step ahead of the tragedy, using Noah’s inherent innocence and misguided wisdom as fuel. Noah is so desperate for some idealized version of his life that he rejects the obvious solution right in front of him. It is a long and harrowing journey (during which you keep laughing out loud, even as tears threaten) that leads him back into the light.
I also make note of the publisher: Scholastic, who brought us the Harry Potter books. How did Simon Green wangle THAT deal? What makes a gay-themed Young Adult book palatable for a mainstream press, when J.K. Rowling couldn’t bring herself to put a gay character into any of her seven long volumes? This is a story about a boy coming out, and a teenager’s awkward obsession with sex (and trying to avoid discussing it) is a central thread in the plot. But somehow Green has produced something that slipped past the ingrained homophobia of our popular culture censors. I’m very grateful because, for all its intended silliness, there is a profoundly moving story of endurance and self-acceptance in “Noah Can’t Even” that will surely save the lives of a few teenagers going forward.
Most recent customer reviews
Noah is such a great character.Read more