outtakes of a walking mistake, anthony paull

(scheduled post)

I’m not sure a middle aged bipolar butch dyke is the best person to review YA fiction (this is my first go at it), but since I review everything I can find that has bipolar and other mental illness themes, I’m doing it anyway.

You can find the other books I’ve reviewed here.

And here’s the blurb:

Outtakes of A Walking Mistake chronicles the romantic entanglements of an ‘out’ gay 16 yr. old boy named Tyler Morris, who auditions for a student film to win the heart of Billy Greske, the school’s celebrity thespian. The plan seems promising until Tyler’s bipolar best friend Jenny offers love advice and a local skater takes interest in Tyler as well. Furthering complications, Tyler’s estranged mother, a clairvoyant circus clown, returns home to win back the love of her family.


wpid-12809599.jpgIt’s a fun sounding theme, typos aside, the author writes well, but the character development fails the plot and the stereotypes are irksome from the start.

“This is not my life. My life exists in film, scattered across the cutting room floor. But that’s not important. That’s the future. My best friend is a bipolar basket case. That’s important. Well, the term basket case might be a tad severe. She takes the proper pills…sometimes, but I digress.”

Tyler is the (gay) protagonist, his bipolar best friend is Jen, who reckons she’s not bipolar, just “bipolar curious”, her meds are a small, white pill that she calls Ralph.

Well. It’s witty, but it’s trying a little too hard. The stereotypes are glaring, jarring and frequently downright offensive. The author seems well intentioned enough, but since the novel clearly isn’t satire, it just doesn’t work and what’s more, if anyone out there reads and believes the stereotypes, another unconsciously ableist homophobe will have been created, or at least reaffirmed. To get away with that sort of wit, there needs to be an element of awareness, where the reader knows clearly, for example, that the jibes are tongue in cheek.

Tyler is a camp little queen, Jen is a promiscuous drunk (they’re both 17 by the way). There was no further depth to either character and as a consequence, I didn’t find anything to like about them. As a result, I didn’t like the book. At all. I just alternated between bored and irritated all the way through.


Comments are closed.