Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review - Struck by Lightning by: Chris Colfer

Title: Struck by Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal
Author: Chris Colfer
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 272
Format: Kindle
Source: Personal purchase

Description:

Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal follows the story of outcast high school senior Carson Phillips, who blackmails the most popular students in his school 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. At a time when bullying torments so many young people today, this unique and important novel sheds light with humor and wit on an issue that deeply resonates with countless teens and readers.

My thoughts:

Like most, I too got to know Chris Colfer through Glee. Every time I watch an episode, I tell my friends, "none of them have the vocal range he does, really." It was obvious from his interviews that he is a creative person, but I had no idea he was an author as well.

Carson Phillips is actually a typical American high school student. He doesn't fit into the star football player stereotype, of course, but he's the guy who does everything he can to get out of his small town and the more "important" things. In addition, his parents are separated; his mother's really depressed, taking pills and watching TV all day...

Before you go, "not another one of those stories," let me tell you this: Colfer has really written a heartfelt, cute, melancholic and warm story. Carson Phillips is the editor of the school paper, and he dreams of becoming a big journalist some day. Because everyone else who's a part of the school paper couldn't care less about it and are slacking of, Carson does most of the writing himself as well. To increase his chances of getting accepted to Northwestern University, he also starts a literary magazine. The problem? He cannot find anyone willing to submit stories.
In the end, he starts discovering the secrets of his fellow students and blackmails them so they'll write for the magazine. Even though Carson comes off as a snobbish character, I understand him very well. I remember in high school what it was like to find people who share your interests, careless people blocking your way to your dreams. How those who read a lot were teased, those who were willing to learn were called snobs, how they were asked, "you think you're gonna save the world by writing?" if they were part of a school publication. 
This book was also made into a movie with the same name. Chris Colfer plays the main character, Carson, in the movie, and it's very obvious he wrote the screenplay himself (which he totally did by the way). You won't be able to say, "the book was better" after you watch the movie.

I think that those who enjoy books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower will like this book. 

Chris Colfer also writes a children's series called The Land of Stories, which I really want to check out soon.


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