Celeste Price is an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. She's undeniably attractive. She drives a red Corvette with tinted windows. Her husband, Ford, is rich, square-jawed, and devoted to her.
But Celeste's devotion lies elsewhere. She has a singular sexual obsession: 14-year-old boys. Celeste pursues her craving with sociopathic meticulousness and forethought; her sole purpose in becoming a teacher is to fulfill her passion and provide her access to her compulsion. As the novel opens, fall semester at Jefferson Jr. High is beginning.
In mere weeks, Celeste has chosen and lured the lusciously naive Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his teacher, and, most important, willing to accept Celeste's terms for a secret relationship - car rides after school; rendezvous at Jack's house while his single father works late; body-slamming encounters in Celeste's empty classroom between periods.
Ever mindful of the danger - the perpetual risk of exposure, Jack's father's own attraction to her, and the ticking clock as Jack leaves innocent boyhood behind - the hyperbolically insatiable Celeste bypasses each hurdle with swift thinking and shameless determination, even when the solutions involve greater misdeeds than the affair itself. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress driven by pure motivation. She deceives everyone, and cares nothing for anyone or anything but her own pleasure.
With crackling, rampantly unadulterated prose, Tampa is a grand, uncompromising, seriocomic examination of want and a scorching literary debut.
©2013 Alissa Nutting (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers
Librarian, blogger, reader
The whole premise of this book is off-putting to some, and if that's how it strikes you just stop there. Because not only is it about an adult woman preying on 14-year-olds, it's quite sexually graphic, and since it's written from Celeste's perspective, the sex is actually pretty sexy. I'm not bothered by anything in fiction (no 14-year-old boys were actually harmed in the writing of this book!) so I found it a bit fascinating. Celeste is a great unlikeable protagonist and I thought the story progressed well all the way to its satisfying ending. I actually tried this one in print first and found the quality of the writing inconsistent, but the audio worked much better for me. The narrator somehow made Celeste's voice more palatable and I binge-listened to this over the long weekend. I like when authors take risks by tackling taboo subjects, and Alissa Nutting pulled it off quite well.
I really wanted to like this book! I read a lot about it on Jezebel, and came straight here to see if it was available in audiobook version. For the first few chapters, I was pretty captivated by the inner monologue of the teacher who plans to seduce her male students. Sure, I was conflicted with the ways in which the protagonist(?) justified and escalated her behavior. This subject matter (female teachers seducing male students) is conflicting at its core for many, which is why I was so intrigued by this book... Initially.Then about 1/3 of the way through listening, I suddenly felt like I needed a hot shower. I am a BIG fan of writers who tackle provocative issues like sex, drug use, etc. and I think that being graphically descriptive can be a great tool in getting inside the minds of the characters who participate in these illicit activities. A great example of this and a book that I really love would be Naked Lunch, where I felt Burroughs used gratuitousness to his great advantage in painting the picture (self portrait...) of a depraved addict. In her gratuitousness, however, Nutting's writing just comes off as... gratuitous.The performance was very much in the same vein as the text. I think someone a little less phone-sex-operator sounding than Kathleen McInerney may have been more appropriate/less distracting, although I admit her narration was on point for the first-person text. Perhaps a little too on-point? Maybe this was what made the whole thing feel a little too porny for me... It really does sound that way. I felt like I was listening to 50 Shades of Statutory Rape or something. Plus, to be honest, it felt sexy. And while this arousal in the readers could have been used in interesting ways, I feel that in this text it is just too much, and doesn't truly lead to any new understanding. Just the aforementioned craving for a shower.In the end, it's hard for me to say exactly what I disliked so much about this book. As I said, I really wanted to enjoy it, and the subject matter seemed very interesting to me. I guess that I just found it a little too salacious for my taste.... I have seen it described on Jezebel as a "beach read"... This is most certainly not a beach read!!PS I feel like I should say that I'm a pretty liberal girl in my late 20s, lest I sound like an old puritan man or whatever...
no one with morals or good taste.
luckily noi still love a good book but it's made me want to find every copy of this book and burn it.
she could have picked a better book to read. Not this sick book
I would rewrite the wole damn book my self. and a lot more tastefully
this book makes 50 shades of grey a lot more better by comparison. the only thing book is good for is to keep a bonfire going if anyone buys paper back they should use it to light there cigarettes. or homeless people can use as firewood. why did the woman who wrote the book I think it was a good idea again?
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