Book Review: 03 by Jean-Christophe Valtat

03: A Novel: A Novel: Jean-Christophe Valtat, Mitzi Angel: 9780374100216: Books

Title: 03

Author: Jean-Christophe Valtat

Genre: Literary Fiction

Number of Pages: 84

Rating: D-

Recommended?: No

Ugh, thank God this book was short.

The whole thing is the stream-of-consciousness tangent of a pretentious teenage boy at a bus stop. He’s obsessed with a developmentally disabled girl who takes the bus every day and his fetishization of her handicap and her perceived innocence gets ickier and ickier. He’s never actually talked to this girl and to him her disability is more of a symbol than an actual condition that affects her life. Throughout the book he goes on about Flowers for Algernon, Ian Curtis, and how ‘life makes retards of us all.’

He’s really quite insufferable and the prose is purple to the point of being frustrating. I really like some stream-of-consciousness novels- The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe and The Woman Who Walked Into Doors by Roddy Doyle are among my favorite books. Those books had fascinating lead characters who made being in their head for the duration of the novel a compelling experience. This kid is a privileged twat with an overinflated sense of importance, and I had to struggle to get through 03 due to my complete lack of interest.

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