I’ll be honest…I often judge a book by it’s cover.
Don’t get me wrong, if I hear good things about a story, I’ll read it regardless. But when I’m lost on ideas and wandering through the library, it’s usually a good cover that gets me intrigued.
I spotted this book on a trip to Hoyt Library, scanned it onto my Goodreads profile, and promptly forgot about it. But then, when I went back, it caught my eye again, and I totally forgot about scanning it the first time. The reviews on Goodreads weren’t particularly high (I trust them 3.5 or higher, and while this hit a 3.6, it only had 75 reviews…), but I liked the description and decided to get it.
A Stranger on the Planet is the story of Seth Shapiro from age 12 to…I actually don’t know when…as he goes through life dealing with his dysfunctional family and, as he comes to realize, his own dysfunctional self. I don’t know how to actually describe the plot because, looking back on it, there isn’t really a plot. I thought the writing was well done, but there wasn’t much of a cohesive story.
The book moves back and forth in time, and we learn just how selfish Seth is, as he continues to blame everyone else for his lack and loss of love and success. Some of the lines actually made my mouth drop, that this guy could be so stupid, dense, and insensitive.
I think that was Adam Schwartz’s goal, though, and he definitely succeeds.
The one constant plotline in the book is the strained relationship that Seth (and his brother and sister) has with his mother, mostly because his father cheated on her and left all of them behind in the divorce. Seth is constantly hoping and looking for the approval and safety of his father, but as it turns out, he’s pretty much stuck with his mom.
This certainly didn’t make the list of favorites, but even books I don’t particularly like get credit for being completely readable.
At just a shade under 300 pages, it’s a fairly quick read and I did enjoy Schwartz’s style of writing. It made an otherwise lame story better.