Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Inner Lives of Nerds

I received a best-seller as a gift, and not just a best-seller but a sort of neo-fantasy novel (Lev Grossman's The Magicians). Not normally my thing but the gifter thought I would like it, and so far (15-20 pages in) I kind of do, probably due to the young-people angle that so obsesses me lately. The following sentence is basically attributable (via free indirect discourse!) to Quentin, a 17-year-old nerd:
Unpretty women were so much easier to deal with in some ways -- you didn't have to face the pain of their probable unattainability.
Attractive menfolk made me very uncomfortable when I was young and nerdy. I had the impression they were instantly sizing me up, attractiveness-wise, then dismissing me. I enjoy the presence of attractive men now, and no longer expect them to even notice me. However, I've always found brief interactions with attractive women to be pleasant.

Another one:
He would have to explain to his parents what happened, and they would, in some way he could never grasp, and therefore could never properly rebut, make him feel like it was his fault.
Whether or not this book turns out to be readable/great, I credit it for getting the Teenage Insight right.


  1. I found that book to be tremendously frustrating to read, partially because I felt it had great potential that it absolutely failed to live up to, and partially that besides having "big breasts" that are mentioned several times and "blonde hair" the main lead female character is hardly developed at all - although she serves the narrator's every whim throughout the book. Blech.

  2. Uh oh. Red flags. I haven't gotten to the female lead yet. I've only read a chapter or two.

  3. It appears this has nothin' to do with the book, but the notion of good-lookin' men bein' stressful and good lookin' women being delightful gells with my gayguy experience: I love female hotness, and although yes I do love male hotness, it's not as fun because the feeling isn't as distanced; this may have, too, to do with the fact that I prefer (in all spheres but the thump-thump one) women.