Sunday, March 06, 2005

A STRANGE DAY

In the introduction to the story, Damon Hurd asks readers to not look at it with their adult eyes, but instead to remember our awkward adolescence and find resonance with the story there.

Any failure on my part to not properly get into that mindset is not from an inability to relate -- sure, I didn't cut my first class until university, but swap out the Cure for, say, Aerosmith and I'm right there -- but instead because I read this book and saw Garden State in the same week.

Garden State offers a similar story -- a disassociated young man is reawakened by an irrepressible and quirky young woman who is really too attractive (in all senses) to have nothing better to do but nurture our hero out of his shell and into a Connection -- set at an age a little easier to remember because it's not so long ago. There's even the childhood trauma that eventually gets worked over and released. (And, says someone who was never a Curehead, a better soundtrack.)

All that admitted, A Strange Day is sweet and gentle-natured and, yes, a little poignant. If Miles and Anna sound more like sixteen-year-olds in a John Hughes movie than any sixteen-year-old I knew or was, then it's not enough to distract -- Hurd's people, as I mentioned in the review for Temporary, always sound like people. Miles and Anna are observant, but not impossibly so and they are easily recognizable as awkward because they're nervous of creating the wrong impression. They ride high and low on the other's reactions and we all did that when we were their ages -- and sometimes do it still.

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