Author: Chris Colfer
Published: November 2012
ISBN: 978 0349001357
The note on the bottom of the cover is “The Carson Phillips Journal”, so it comes as no surprise that it’s a diary and therefore has dated pages for each entry. I do wish that the entries had been formatted for a UK audience though, or the dates written in full, that’s one thing I’ve not got any need to get to grips with currently and it did make reading the dates a bit tedious.
Carson completely got under my skin in an irritating yet laugh out loud way. He’s crass, sharp tongued, witty and occasionally bad mouthed in places, and as someone who is way past teenage years <ahem> his reflections were surprisingly akin to some of my own thoughts - even now – and especially on the subject of education!
Carson uses his sharp wit and nack to be in the right place at the right time to his advantage when he’s told he needs to create a Literature Magazine to apply for the dream college he wants to attend. He ends up blackmailing nearly everyone within the book (at least if they attend his school) and using their secrets against them to get them to submit stories to his magazine.
There are parts of this I could quote til I’m blue in the face, some of the things he says are so hilarious and his timing is brilliant. He also shows his softer side, very occasionally – normally when he visits his dementia ridden Nan in the home she is in.
The thing that struck me most from this book was for all Carson’s bravado, his family really don’t give a fig about him. His mothers actions made me want Carlson to wreak revenge on her – her life has been so pitifully dull since she got divorced that she welcomes as many reasons to wallow in self pity as she can lay her alcohol induced, prescription clutching hands on. But really, she needs some self respect!
Carson’s Dad is also a piece of work; having seen him about twice since the divorce and then trying to make out he’s the perfect father. Really?! Grrr!!!
I’m not sure about the ending. I guess it can be seen as karma or something, but I just saw it as a quick way to make use of the title in the very last stages. It didn’t work for me personally. In all honesty, this is a book I can take or leave, but I had fun reading it and giggling away whilst Carson was getting all trappy with the next drama and it had plenty of laughs in it.
Struck by Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal follows the story of outcast high school senior Carson Phillips who blackmails the most popular students into contributing to his literary journal to bolster his college application; his goal in life is to get into Northwestern and eventually become the editor of The New Yorker.
At once laugh-out-loud funny, deliciously dark, and remarkably smart, Struck by Lightning unearths the dirt that lies just below the surface of high school.
Source – Many thanks to the publisher, a copy was received in return for an honest review.